International Affairs

Crimea: Compromise, Not Sanctions, is the Way Forward

Article by Lord Owen, Published in The Huffington Post 17 March, 2014

Crimea Vote

Territorial disputes are only solved after long, hard negotiations. The only recent exception in Europe has been the very successful velvet divorce conducted without referendums or threats of violence by politicians in what was Czechoslovakia. Let us not forget either that that was achieved in the teeth of opposition from European governments and the Russian Federation who wanted no change in boundaries…

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David Owen: There is hope yet for us to broker a peace in Syria

Article published in The Standard 6 January, 2014

The conference on Syria planned for January 22 in Switzerland, convened by US Sec- retary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, is the one hope left for a quick ceasefire. Yet that will be very difficult to achieve.
On humanitarian grounds, a genuine, monitored ceasefire is imperative — but re- alpolitik, some will argue, means there can be no ceasefire until exhaustion or victory. Also, ceasefire lines have a tradition of becoming permanent, leading to something too close to de facto partition as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the emergence of a new country, as in Kosovo…

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Syria’s Divided Future?

Lord Owen interview on CNN 5 November, 2013

Lord Owen suggests partition in Syria is becoming an increasingly inevitable outcome as a change in the balance of the elements of the Shia grouping takes place on the ground. He warns that a 1919 Treaty of Paris carve-up must be avoided and that solutions must come from within the region.

For the full interview on CNN International please click here

Diplomatic Opening for Iran Can Help End Syria Crisis

Article by Lord Owen published on Global Vision 23 September, 2013

LONDON — The eyes of the world are focused on the U.N. in New York this week in an amazing turnabout in international politics. We could have been in the midst of a Middle East war with the U.S. and France having attacked Syria, triggering resumed fighting across the border of southern Lebanon and Israel. Instead, the U.N. is back on center stage, the Security Council is functioning again, and its five permanent powers are in a constructive dialogue over chemical weapons in Syria for the first time in two and a half years.

And in an immensely encouraging sign, we have the presence in New York of the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, clearly intent on improving relations with the U.S. and President Obama and talking the language of peace on how to accommodate Iran’s right to have a civil nuclear power program with respected non-proliferation treaty safeguards to prevent the manufacture of nuclear weapons…

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Interview with Ken Livingstone and David Mellor on LBC

Interview on LBC, Saturday 7 September, 2013

Speaking on LBC Lord David Owen former Foreign Secretary demanded that “The UK Government table a resolution in the Security Council this weekend for an urgent debate on the immediate removal of all chemical weapons from Syria under UN inspection teams with representatives on those teams from the five permanent members.”

“Let us see whether China would veto such a resolution, whether Russia would? It is clear from the St Petersburg G20 meeting that such a resolution would have the support of many big nations. It is not enough for our Prime Minister to say after the vote he respects the democratic decision of Parliament; he needs to act on it…”

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Lord Owen: How the G20 could break the deadlock on Syria

Article by Lord Owen published in The Evening Standard 2 September 2013

On Thursday in St Petersburg world leaders have an opportunity to break the deadlock in the Security Council over Syria between the Permanent Five, China, France, the UK, the US and Russia. The voice in the margins of the G20 meeting that needs to be heard on Syria, above all, is that of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She could mobilise India, Brazil, Japan and others for a very simple proposition: “Leave aside for the moment your differences in the Security Council on who did or did not use gas in Syria. You five countries cannot agree over what military action should or should not be taken over that, but surely you can agree that all chemical weapons should be removed from Syria now and that such a process should start now under UN supervision as was done in Iraq in 1991…”

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Lord Owen’s Interview with CNBC on Syria

Interview with CNBC 29 August 2013

Lord Owen states that diplomatic options on Syria must be pursued first. The world needs to know beyond doubt who has used the gas in Syria and we must await the UN inspector’s report. Are the US and UK correct in asserting the chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime or is there credence in the Russian claim that it was used by Al-Qaeda. It is known within intelligence sources that they have access to small gas munitions. We also know that in civil wars agent provocateuring does occur. One hopes that progress towards achieving a ceasefire can be made in the Security Council on Monday. If not, the upcoming G20 Summit in St Petersburg on 5-6 September  must be used as a negotiation to stop this civil war”

For the full video interview please click here

In interviews with the Daily Mirror, CNN, BBC and Sky today David Owen spoke about the need to try first to win the support of China and Russia for a three part UN Resolution

Lord Owen’s proposals regarding Syria as at 27 August 2013

A diplomatic war should be waged first in the Security Council in New York before the House of Commons endorses any British Tomahawk cruise  missiles being launched against targets in Syria.

Chemical weapons are classified as Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and there  is an International Convention on Chemical Weapons which came into effect in 1997. Today 189 countries are signatories to the Convention; unfortunately seven UN member states have not signed. Importantly they include Syria and Israel as well as Egypt, South Sudan , Burma, North Korea and Angola.

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