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Putin and Obama united is the key to peace in Syria

Paddy Ashdown says Syria will ultimately need a peace deal backed up by the great powers. For that to happen, the great powers - ie America and Russia - need to be talking to each other. At present they are not doing that in any meaningful way.

One says Assad has to go, the other says that is up to the Syrian people to decide.

Regarding the UK position, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says the Government needs "absolute clarity" that Assad will play no role in the long-term future of Syria. Why? From whom? In order to do what? Is this a pre-condition of any engagement with Russia or Iran?

Even though they disagree on serious issues, America and Russia should be working together now. There may never be peace in Syria until they do so. They should be seriously exploring the possibility of a ceasefire between Assad and moderate rebels.

If Russia and America were united, the future of Isis in Syria would be very short. Once they are gone the business of rebuilding Syria can begin.

If or when the demand that Assad step down becomes a barrier to that, it should be set aside. His future can be left up to the Syrian people. David Cameron should be using his powerful influence to get Obama talking to Putin.


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