Further action needed against Syrian regime, says David Cameron

 

David Cameron urged Russia and China today to join the world in “tightening the noose” around the Syrian regime after a key deadline passed.

The Prime Minister said Bashar Assad's "deliberate flouting" of the latest peace plan showed that further action was needed.

Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan has secured commitments from Damascus to pull its troops out of cities and halt all violence.

But an initial deadline passed on Tuesday without the regime honouring its pledge to withdraw.

A ceasefire came into effect in the early hours of this morning, with reports so far suggesting it is being observed.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 during his South East Asia trade mission today, Mr Cameron said: "I feel an immense sense of frustration because the world has come together behind this Kofi Annan plan.

"This is a plan, remember, that is not just backed by those of us who have been pushing for action on Syria, it's also backed by China and Russia.

"And yet Assad is deliberately flouting it.

"Now is the time to say to the Russians and Chinese, look at the man we are dealing with, look at the appalling way he is behaving.

"We need to go back to the UN and tighten the pressure, tighten the noose."

Syrian foreign minister Jihad Makdissi told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that President Assad's government had no intention of breaking the ceasefire and had already made several military drawbacks.

Mr Makdissi said the Syrian government was prepared to enter a process to end the conflict but said President Assad retained the support of a "majority" of Syrians.

He said: "There is no reason to break the ceasefire at all.

"What is important is everybody should abide by the terms of calm. (Kofi Annan) is asking cessation of violence by all parties, not only the Syrian government.

"For our side we are fully committed for this.

"We have a clear mechanism now in place, which is the Annan plan... we are enabling him.

"It is not about President Assad.... the realistic prospect is it is up to Syrians themselves to decide.

"Anybody who wants to change the regime in Syria, they should not be forcing this, they should do it through democratic channels.

"You have to be even-handed. The violence is mutual in Syria. I'm not saying we don't have problems in Syria.

"What I am saying is the way out is evolution and not armed confrontation."

Mr Makdissi said there could be no pre-conditions, such as the departure of President Assad, on any process.

The Prime Minister spoke to Kofi Annan earlier today and expressed concern that the April 10 deadline had not been observed, according to a Downing Street source.

Mr Annan told Mr Cameron that conditions on the ground seemed calm.

The former UN Secretary General's team will report to the Security Council this evening, and file a formal report on the situation on Monday.

Mr Cameron said it was a "good first step" if the ceasefire was proving effective. There is due to be a discussion on the issue at the Security Council next week.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...