Saturday, 31 August 2013

Letter from the Leader: Our priority is Syria

Dear Chris,

This was a week in which we all grappled with a complex set of questions about Britain’s role in the world:

My own views are well known: that there is a humanitarian case for the UK to be prepared to participate in multi-lateral, legal, targeted military action in Syria, aimed at deterring the use of chemical weapons. But there are no easy answers in this debate and I entirely understand and respect the misgivings that have led some colleagues and party members to oppose such action.

Last night, Parliament made its opposition to military action clear and of course, the Government will abide by that decision.

I held an online Q&A with members earlier today. If you weren’t able to join in, you can see it here.

I want to assure you that we will not turn our backs on the millions of innocent Syrian civilians caught up in this horrific war.

Our priority is humanitarian aid for the refugees now huddling on the Syrian borders. We have already pledged nearly £350m of aid, making the UK the second largest donor in this crisis. Food, water, shelter and medicines are the least we can provide to those people torn from their homes by this civil war.

But of course, only a political process will end this war and allow those millions to return safely home. So, although Russia and China are likely to continue to thwart efforts even to act politically through the UN, we will continue to work actively to build the diplomatic chances for peace.

Best wishes,

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