Members of the Lords debated the situation in Syria and the Middle East on Monday 1 July
Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi (Conservative), opened the 'timely and important' debate. She warned of the current conflict's 'profound impact on regional stability' and set out the government's target of achieving a negotiated political settlement to end the violence.
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon (Liberal Democrat), president of UNICEF UK, addressed the issue of intervention. He acknowledged that he was among the first to call for similar measures in the Balkans, but warned that, in the case of Syria, the situation is 'so difficult, so tragic and so potentially catastrophic for the wider peace that it behoves us to try to put forward a suggestion other than intervention.'
Lord Hylton (Crossbench), director of the Middle East Economic Forum, focused on diplomatic efforts to secure a lasting ceasefire, stating that 'the past 27 months have proved beyond possible doubt that none of the many sides can achieve political victory.'
Lord Judd (Labour), a trustee of Saferworld and former director of Oxfam, spoke about humanitarian efforts and the need to secure safe access for aid agencies: 'Everyone - rebels and government - should be pressuring all parties to the conflict to make access... a possibility.' He also called for promises of financial aid to be honoured, saying, 'I find it cruelly cynical to be at conferences at which great amounts of assistance are pledged but do not materialise.'
Baroness Warsi closed the debate and thanked members for their contributions. She reiterated her belief that 'an inclusive Syrian-led political process is the best way to bring an end to the bloodshed and minimise the threat to peace and security in the wider region.'