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UK backs ‘safe passage’ for Assad

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah held talks here yesterday with British Prime Minister David Cameron on major regional and international issues including Syria and Palestine.
“The two leaders also discussed ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation in all areas, serving the interests of the two countries and peoples,” the SPA said.
King Abdullah conferred on Cameron the King Abdul Aziz Sash of the First Order that is given to foreign heads of state. The premier thanked the king for the honor.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, and Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attended the talks.
On the British side, the talks were attended by Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins, and other senior officials.
Cameron told Al Arabiya television he would support granting Syrian leader Bashar Assad a safe passage out of Syria to end the nation’s bloodshed.
But “of course, I would favor him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he’s done,” Cameron said, according to a transcript of the interview.
Cameron later met with female students at the Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah.
Cameron’s visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia is aimed at strengthening economic and defense ties with them and “signals the PM’s commitment to cementing long-term partnerships with two of Britain’s most important strategic allies,” Cameron’s office said before the trip.
Yesterday, Britain and the UAE announced they had agreed on a defense partnership and to boost the British military presence there.
The two countries will “work together to deepen our defense ties” for the “security of the UAE and wider Gulf region,” a joint statement said.

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