SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan will today meet the Russian Ambassador to Britain to raise his “deep concerns” of people here over the unfolding situation in Aleppo.
The meeting comes in the wake of the UN stating that recent raids and bombings of the Syrian city probably constitute “a war crime” and as buses start evacuations of Aleppo today under a renewed but fragile deal.
Mr Durkan, who will be join a cross-party delegation of MPs, raised his concerns with Prime Minister Theresa May during Prime Minister Questons (PMQs) in the House of Commons yesterday.
Addressing Mrs May, he said: “A cross-party delegation led by the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) will meet the Russian ambassador tomorrow morning to discuss Aleppo.
“We will reflect and amplify the sort of terms that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have used about Russia, the Assad regime and Iran, not least because we want to protect those who have heroically struggled to save lives in that city and who will now be at particular risk because of what they have witnessed.
“Does the Prime Minister accept that many of us believe that these messages are more cogent when we are equally unequivocal about the primacy of human rights and international humanitarian law when we meet the Gulf states?”
Prime Minister Theresa May replied: “We do raise the issue of human rights when we meet the Gulf states, but the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right in relation to the role that Russia is playing in Syria.
“There is a very simple message for President Putin.
“He has it within his own hands to say to the Assad regime that enough is enough in Aleppo. We need to ensure that humanitarian aid is there for people and that there is security for the people who have, as the hon. Gentleman has said, been heroically saving the lives of others.”
She concluded: “I am sure that that is a message that he and others will be giving to the Russian ambassador. It is in President Putin’s hands; he can do it, why does he not?”
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