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Robinson urged to call special Executive talks on Syrian crisis

By Noel McAdam

Published 08/09/2015

First Minister Peter Robinson has been urged to call a special Executive session on the Syrian refugee crisis - less than an hour after he pulled the plug on future meetings.

The SDLP's Colum Eastwood said the meeting should be convened urgently "to find out how this Executive and this part of the world can play a role in helping some of these people survive the most brutal of conditions".

He said: "I know that the First Minister has told us there will be no Executive meetings unless there are exceptional circumstances, but I count this as an exceptional circumstance."

Caitríona Ruane of Sinn Fein said: "We are living through one of the worst humanitarian crises that we have seen. People in Syria and other parts of the world are being indiscriminately bombed."

The DUP's Peter Weir argued, however: "It is a man-made human catastrophe and we need to ensure that we put the blame where it squarely lies. While there is work to be done by Western governments, it has not been through the Western governments.

"It has been through the evil and extremism of terrorism."

Ulster Unionist Robin Swann said: "We have to commit to a plan to help. I have heard the potshots at the British and Irish governments about Assad and Isis. (It) should have been about what we can do and what we can do now."

Jim Allister of TUV said: "It is right that there must be an appropriate response. Of course, there has to be a national response, but, this being a reserved matter, the responsibility for it lies exclusively with the United Kingdom Government."

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