11 October 2016
Nadhim Zahawi urges Russia to follow the rule of international law in Aleppo

Speaking in a debate on Aleppo and Syria, Nadhim Zahawi calls on Russia to follow the rule of law and international law and not back war criminals such as President Assad.

Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) (Con)

I commend my right hon. Friend for securing this debate. Does he agree that the Russian military has a deep history with the Syrian military, and that it is in Russia’s gift to deliver a peace process? When we visited Russia as part of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Russian politicians kept reminding us they wanted to be taken seriously by the whole world and that they were a serious power. In order to be taken seriously, however, they really should be following the rule of law and international law. They should not be aiding and abetting war criminals such as Assad.

Mr Mitchell

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point.

The extraordinary misfortune of timing that I mentioned is being exacerbated by international attention being elsewhere. In Europe, Brexit, the issues with the euro, Greece, the German banks and the focus on migration have all meant that the focus has been on the symptoms rather than the causes of this conflict. In the United States, politicians have turned in on themselves as the election approaches, and Obama has underwritten an isolationist approach. However, there are people such as Senator Lindsey Graham and Secretary Kerry who are seized of the importance of this moment in tackling what Russia is doing. Then of course there is Russia, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) has alluded. It is behaving like a rogue elephant, shredding international humanitarian law and abusing its veto powers in the UN Security Council. It is using the veto to protect itself from its own war crimes.

| Hansard


Nadhim Zahawi

Inaction has consequences, and the consequences of inaction in 2013 are seen in Aleppo today.

Alistair Burt

They are; we learned that intervention has consequences, but so does non-intervention. We talk about non-intervention, but Syria has had intervention from Russia, from Hezbollah and from the Iranians. I remember briefings in the House, talking to colleagues and saying that, if the ultimate answer to Syria is a victory for Assad, for Russia, for Iran and for Hezbollah, and if we think that that will be in the United Kingdom’s best interests, I think we ought to think again. So we move on, and it is all very well to hear the history.

| Hansard