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UK foreign secretary says protection of civilians should be 'top priority' in Syria

There can be no military solution in Syria, Boris Johnson believes

LONDON, December 10. /TASS/. The warring sides in Syria should protect civilians and provide UN workers with access to Aleppo’s besieged parts for delivering humanitarian aid, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said after a round of talks of the Friends of Syria group held in Paris on Saturday.

"We agreed our first priority must be the protection of civilians and ensuring access for humanitarian aid. It’s essential that the regime [of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad] and its backers provide the United Nations that access with immediate effect," the Foreign Office quoted Johnson as saying.

"Although the deterioration of the situation in Aleppo will be a setback for the Syrian opposition it will not change the fundamentals of the conflict," Johnson said.

"There can be no military solution in Syria. We must keep pushing for a return to a political process with the credibility necessary for all parties to commit to an end to all the fighting," he emphasized.

The meeting of the Friends of Syria group was chaired by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, his counterparts - Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani of Qatar. Among the participants also were the US Secretary of State John Kerry, foreign ministers of the UK and Turkey, officials from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Jordan. Besides, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and representatives of the Syrian opposition attended the talks in Paris.