On 24th July 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received written answers to questions on Lebanon and Syria.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK is providing an additional £10 million of assistance to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in their mission to secure Lebanon’s border with Syria. The package of non-lethal assistance includes mobility, communications, protection and observation equipment and associated training. The package was discussed by the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, with the LAF commander during his visit to Lebanon on 4-5 July.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with Ahmad Jarba, head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the newly elected President of the Syrian National Coalition, regarding the development of a free, democratic and pluralist Syria that defends the rights of all Syrians.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Following the election of Coalition President, Ahmad al-Jarba on 6 July and the expansion in parallel of the National Coalition, the UK Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition, Jon Wilks, met the new leadership on 8 July in Istanbul. The meeting took place in the company of representatives of other countries closely supporting the Coalition. Together with the other representatives, Jon Wilks impressed on the new leadership the importance of reaching out to all Syrians over the challenge of creating a new, democratic and free Syria. The Coalition made clear that they represented a new team, which would be more open, focussed and inclusive.