Monmouth Tory MP David Davies: I met Bashar Assad
A GWENT politician has told of how he came face to face with the Syrian leader accused of killing hundreds of civilians with chemical weapons.
Monmouth Tory MP David Davies said Bashar Assad came over as “perfectly alright” when he met him years before Syria plunged into civil war.
Mr Davies and Newport West MP Paul Flynn today both expressed opposition to the UK getting involved, amid calls for parliament to come back from recess to debate the issue.
It is thought the UK Government is considering military intervention against Mr Assad’s government after an alleged chemical attack near Damascus killed hundreds.
Mr Davies met the Syrian president while on a visit with a group of MPs to the country sometime around 2009: “This may go down the wrong way but like many dictators he comes over as perfectly alright.
“He was happy to meet us in Damascus. It’s not that unusual, a lot of MPs have gone to Syria. We had probably an hour and a half with him, at the time we were urging him to open up a bit and reform his human rights legislation. He was positive about it.
"He did give the impression that he took on board what we were saying. He gave the impression he wanted the country to open up a bit. He was talking about reforms and having better working relationship with the West."
Mr Davies, who said that Mr Assad’s government has since “behaved in the most brutal fashion”, defended the right of MPs to go on such trips: "We need to be talking to people before these sorts of things happen."
The Tory added that the UK doesn't "know what we are getting into here," saying he would be opposed to any military action to topple Assad. “I don’t think we have any clear idea of what would happen next.”
Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, said there should be a vote in parliament on any military action: “We can do more harm by going in. It’s not in Britain interests.”
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