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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

UK foreign secretary meets Syrian opposition in London

Boris Johnson met Dr Nasr Al Hariri to discuss efforts to end the war

Nasr Al Hariri, Head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC), attends a news conference before the opening of Intra Syria talks in Geneva, Switzerland November 27, 2017. Denis Balibouse/ Reuters
Nasr Al Hariri, Head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC), attends a news conference before the opening of Intra Syria talks in Geneva, Switzerland November 27, 2017. Denis Balibouse/ Reuters

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson met with the head of the Syrian opposition’s Geneva delegation Dr Nasr Al Hariri in London on Wednesday to discuss efforts to end the civil war.

Mr Johnson said described the war as an “appalling human catastrophe” and said the visit was a “significant opportunity” to bring the suffering to an end.

In a statement after the meeting, the foreign secretary said the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and refusal to engage in peace talks had made it difficult to reach a political settlement.

“But we remain clear that only a political solution will create a stable, brighter future for the Syrian people,” he said. “Nasr Al Hariri and the Syrian opposition have again expressed their willingness to engage in direct negotiations with the Syrian regime and Russia without preconditions.”

Mr Johnson added that the UK would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Syria, with a recent £750 million (Dh3.7 billion) pledge over two years taking the total amount of funding given by the UK since 2011 to £2.71 billion.

“This assistance will help to alleviate the extreme suffering in Syria and provide vital support in neighbouring countries,” he said.

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