Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called the current Syrian situation “dire” and said the country faced a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe.”
“We have very serious issues before us today. We have an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria that is getting worse,” he said on Tuesday.
“Russia in particular has a unique ability to persuade the Assad regime to end the carnage and return to the negotiating table,” Johnson said at a news conference on Tuesday with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
He reiterated his country’s stance that Bashar Assad should step down.
This is “what everybody wants to see,” he said.
The U.S. State Department said the meeting between them “reaffirms strength of U.S.-UK special relationship.”
The Foreign Secretary also met peers from Germany, France, Italy and the European Union in London to discuss Syria’s five-year conflict, which has spurred the rise of ISIS, sucked in regional and major powers and created the world’s worst refugee crisis.
Johnson said: “We must be more active, more engaged and more outward-looking, so I am delighted to have this early opportunity to welcome my international counterparts to London for important meetings on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.”
“I will be making clear my view that the suffering of the Syrian people will not end while Assad remains in power. The international community, including Russia, must be united on this,” he added.
During his visit to London, Kerry held talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Kerry and May had a “substantive discussion” about the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain and “the importance of our strong partnership.”
In the evening, Johnson and Kerry attended a meeting with foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and UAE to discuss the conflict in Yemen.
Meanwhile, a British official criticized the Syrian regime for its continued siege of cities and for causing a famine.
Edwin Samuel said in a statement that the tactics used by the Syrian regime in besieging cities, and lately Aleppo, is a weapon of war.
Assad should stop and assume his humanitarian responsibilities, he added.