Owen Smith Says West Should Negotiate With Isis During Labour Leadership Debate

Owen Smith has come under attack for saying the West will “eventually” have to negotiate with Isis.

The Labour leadership candidate made the comment during a debate with Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC on Wednesday morning.

Corbyn said Isis would not be involved in any peace talks. And his campaign team has criticised Smith for the “ill-considered” remark.

Asked about the terrorist group that has taken control of a large part of Syria and Iraq as well as claimed responsibility for attacks in Europe, Smith told the programme:

“My view is ultimately that all political solutions to these sorts of crises do come about through dialogue, so eventually if we are to try and solve this all of the actors do need to be involved.

“But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating. At some point, for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table.”

He added: “My record is I’m someone who worked on the peace process in Northern Ireland for three years. I was part of the UK’s negotiating team which helped bring together the loyalist paramilitaries and the DUP in particular into the process alongside Sinn Fein.”

Smith and Corbyn had been asked if any negotiations over the civil war in Syria would involve talking to Isis.

Corbyn said while the Assad regime would need to be involved in talks, Isis would not. “No, they are not going too be around the table, no,” he said.

“There has to be a political process. There already is a political process being conducted through the Geneva talks. That does involve yes, negotiations that involve the Assad regime, that’s obvious. It also, I suspect, brings in some kind of proximity talks or whatever,” he said.

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