Boris Johnson on Tuesday called for protests outside the Russian embassy in London over Moscow’s intervention in Syria backing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. AFP photo
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Boris was displaying his “Russophobic hysteria.”
Boris Johnson has hinted that the British government will explore the possibility of further military involvement in Syria to help end the country’s “hell”.
The Foreign Secretary stressed any action would require American backup and the West had to be “realistic” about what was possible.
However, he admitted that “more kinetic options, the military options” were being considered ahead of a meeting with Foreign Ministers in London on Sunday.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson asks: “Where is the Stop The War coalition at the moment? Where are they?” CREDIT: PA WIRE
It came as Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, accused Boris Johnson of “politicking” and said the “arrogant” Foreign Secretary appeared to be trying to set himself up as a “prosecutor general” over Syria.
Mr Lavrov told CNN: “What my friend and new colleague Boris Johnson is saying is absolute politicking, in the usual arrogant way.
Russian Foreign Minister lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (back to camera)
“Boris is the Jack of all trades, as you know. Having served as mayor, he said he was a very good friend of Russia and was very famous at the Russian festivals in London.
“Now I think he is getting ready to become maybe an internationally-recognised prosecutor-general at The Hague, especially after our British colleagues decided that the slogan ‘Yes, we can’ should be additioned by a ‘You can’t’ – when they decided to remove their military from the jurisdiction of the European Human Rights Convention.”
Mr Johnson said that it might be a “long day’s march”, but that the public mood had changed since the government voted against military action in 2013.
Speaking to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, he said: “It is right now we should be looking again at the more kinetic options and the military options, but we must be realistic about how these in fact work and what is deliverable.
“Certainly you can’t do anything without a coalition with the Americans. I think we are still a pretty long day’s march from getting that, but that doesn’t mean that discussions aren’t going on because they certainly are.”
He added: “It is vital we do not raise false hopes. We know the difficulties and implications of a no-fly zone or no-bombing zone, no matter how easy these concepts may be made to seem.
“If there is more we can reasonably and practically do together with our allies, then of course we should consider these measures – and believe me that work is already going on.”
CREDIT: ABDALRHMAN ISMAIL/REUTERS
“Most people I think are changing their minds on this and are thinking we cannot let this go on for ever. We cannot just see Aleppo pulverised in this way. We have to do something.
“The mood of the House of Commons has changed from 2013. Whether that means we can get a coalition for a more kinetic action now I cannot prophesy. But what most people want to see now is a new set of options.”
Mr Johnson told MPs that he had summoned a meeting of foreign ministers – including US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as ministers from France and Germany – on Sunday to consider a new way forward in Syria and Iraq.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault attends a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart following their meeting in Moscow. AFP photo
He said: “Most people – I think including John Kerry – feel that the process of discussion with the Russians has basically run out of road.
“On Sunday, we will be talking about all the options that we think are available to us and to the West. I am not going to pretend that there is any easy answer here, because there isn’t.”
He also revealed he was looking to step up economic sanctions against Russia and others close to the regime.
Mr Johnson said the West had ” a very serious problem” with Russia and said their actions in Syria had been “reckless and aggressive”.
Mr Johnson called for protests outside the Russian embassy during a debate in the Commons on Tuesday, after warning the country was in danger of becoming a “pariah nation”.
His comments came as Vladimir Putin cancelled a planned visit to Paris and residents of Aleppo reported a surge in the Russian and Syrian government bombing that has sparked the most dangerous confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the Prime Minister would “weigh up very carefully any options that are put forward and the potential consequences of those.”
“All we could see was a child’s feet.” — Members of the Syrian Civil Defense group recovered a body after airstrikes on Saturday in the contested city of Aleppo. More than 90 people died on Friday, and more than 100 on Saturday.Credit Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, via Associated Press.
The once amicable friendship of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seems to have turned into trouble. Kerry and Lavrov pose unhappily together for a photo at the United Nations in Manhattan, New York, on Sept 23, 2016. PHOTO by REUTERS
France’s President Hollande. Reuters Photo
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