Three of the biggest parties in parliament, including the ruling coalition, have called on the government to take a stand on the Syrian conflict and the role of Russia.
‘France and Britain have set out their position clearly,’ Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Michiel Servaes said. ‘I would like our cabinet to be as clear.’
The French said last week that there is no future for president Bashar al-Assad in Syria, while Britain has described the Russian involvement in the conflict as ‘a terrible mistake’.
VVD parliamentarian Han ten Broek told website Nu.nl that the west has been ‘crippled by the Assad question’.
‘They do not dare to state what should happen to Assad,’ he said. ‘Russia may dictate the outcome. We don’t want their involvement but we can’t manage without them because the west does not know what to do with Assad.’
D66 said the cabinet’s position so far has been ‘timid’. It should condemn the Russian actions, spokesman Sjoerd Sjoerdsma said. ‘I think in the battle against IS, we have lost sight of what a terrible person Assad is.
Russia last week began air attacks on Syrian targets. Although Moscow claims only IS locations are being bombarded, observers say opponents of Assad himself are being hit.
Foreign affairs minister Bert Koenders and defence minister Jeanine Hennis told Nu.nl they consider Russia’s role should be monitored closely. Koenders will debate the latest developments in Syria with MPs on Thursday.
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