G8: World leaders appeal to allies of Assad to force the Syrian President to surrender power

Loyalists could have a future in a new Syria if they topple their President

Enniskillen

World leaders appealed to allies of Bashar al-Assad to force the Syrian President to surrender power at the close of their two-day summit in Northern Ireland.

The G8 nations papered over differences between Russia and the West by trying to revive peace talks in Geneva. But Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, stopped short of calling for Assad to go - the view of the seven other leaders.

Crucially, no date was set for peace negotiations, a delay which could give Assad more time to crush opposition fighters in the country's bloody two-year civil war. The G8 summit communiqué said only that negotiations should begin “as soon as possible.” Hopes they would  re-start next month look likely to be dashed and the process could  be delayed until September. One European diplomat said: “Events on the ground over the next four or five weeks will be important.” But British sources insisted the absence of a date was not  a stalling tactic by Russia, and that setting a premature date would end in failure.

The G8 statement called for “agreement on a transitional governing body with full executive powers”, adding: “The public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services.”

The wording was a message to Assad loyalists that they could have a future in a new Syria if they toppled their President. David Cameron, who chaired the summit at Lough Erne, told a press conference: “Those loyal to Assad, who know he has to go but who want stability in their country, they should take note of this point.” He said maintaining Syria's security forces would “learn the lesson” from Iraq, where disbanding the army and police after the 2003 invasion left a vacuum exploited by al-Qa'ida.

British sources claimed that Russia had given ground behind the scenes, wanted a stable Syria  and was not committed to propping up President Assad personally. They denied Mr Cameron had settled for a “lowest common denominator” approach to prevent a “G7 versus Russia” outcome at the summit.

“Our major priority is to help drive this political process. No one wants to see more conflict, no one wants to see more arms, no one wants to see more death,” said Mr Cameron. His words on arms were an apparent retreat from plans to supply them to the Syrian opposition - on which he may not be able to secure a House of Commons majority. He insisted no decision to send arms had been taken. “This is turning up the pace of political change that is needed in Syria…we have to turn these words into action,” he said.

The Prime Minister said:  “I think it is unthinkable that president Assad can play any part in the future government of his country. He has blood on his hands, he's used chemical weapons.”

But Mr Putin laid bare the differences at his own post-summit press conference, when he urged the United States, Britain and France not to  arm the anti-Assad rebels. Controversially, he  cited the terrorist killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich to make his case.

The Russian President declared: “Recently the British people suffered a huge loss. It was a tragedy next to his barracks on the streets of London. A violent assassination, a very brutal killing of a British serviceman.

”Clearly the opposition [in Syria] is not composed all of this but many of them are exactly the same as the ones who perpetrated the killing in London. If we equip these people, if we arm them what is going to control and verify who is going to have these weapons, including in Europe as well. So we call all our partners, before making this dangerous step, think about it very carefully.“

The G8 leaders, including Mr Putin, agreed that the United Nations should investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Denying he was  isolated, the Russian President claimed that some of the other eight leaders agreed with him that there was not yet proof the Assad regime had used such weapons.  ”We had disagreements, that is true but I never felt lonely and Russia was never on its own in making a statement on Syria.“

News
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, dropped out of Stanford University just before graduation to develop his app
techAnd yes, it is quite a lot
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Retail Business Architect

Flexible for the right candidate: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: I have a fa...

Calypso Developer

£500 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Calypso, J2SE, XML, ...

IT Developer/Analyst

£35000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading financia...

Pricing Manager, Finance, Edinburgh, £250-350p/d

£250 - £350 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is cur...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis