Cautious Response to Russian Withdrawal

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with world leaders (File)
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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Russia is a difficult partner ….reports Asian Lite News

Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini(From L to R) attend a press conference in Paris (File)
Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini(From L to R) attend a press conference in Paris (File)

The foreign secretary was addressing the parliament on the 5th year anniversary of the Syrian conflict. In another development Russia’s defence ministry announced that  the first group of warplanes had left their air base in Syria. But Moscow will maintain a naval base and air base, as well as some troops in the civil war torn country.

“Russia will be judged by its actions,” said Mr Hammond. “There was no independent evidence that the withdrawal had begun and it was not terribly reassuring that Russia’s defence ministry had indicated air strikes could continue against terrorists – a term Moscow has used to include groups the West views as moderate opposition forces.”

The Foreign Secretary said Russia had previously claimed it was withdrawing from the Ukraine when it was actually just a routine rotation of troops. It was unclear what Mr Putin’s intentions were as he is a “very difficult partner”, the Foreign Secretary added.

Meanwhile.  International Development Minister Desmond Swayne renews UK’s commitment to help the displaced people inside Syria.

Desmond Swayne MP, International Development Minister
Desmond Swayne MP, International Development Minister

“Five years of conflict is a terrible milestone to reach, for families facing starvation in besieged towns inside Syria and for refugees desperate to return home,” said Swayne.  “From the start, the UK has been at the forefront of the response – this is our biggest ever response to a crisis and we have provided lifesaving aid for millions of people, while consistently pushing other countries to step up and follow our lead.

“The London Conference for Syria and the region that the UK co-hosted last month secured record-breaking levels of new funding and delivered historic commitments on education and livelihoods. We will continue to stand alongside the Syrian people in their time of need.”

Prime Minister David Cameron announced an extra £1.2bn in international aid to support Syria and the region during the conference. The pledge was made at the Conference which was attended by representatives from 70 countries and international organisations around the world.