UK's William Hague attacks Assad's Syria elections plan

 

William Hague read out an agreed statement in which the Friends of Syria vowed further help for Syria's opposition

Presidential elections in Syria will be a "parody of democracy", UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Mr Hague said Syria's government had an "utter disregard" for life, and President Bashar al-Assad decision to call an election for 3 June "disgusted" the international community.

The foreign secretary also announced the Syrian opposition would have its diplomatic status in the UK upgraded.

Syria's three-year conflict has left some 150,000 people dead.

The UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections.

'Illegitimate'

Mr Hague hosted a meeting of the The Friends of Syria group - made up of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US - in London.

Afterwards, he said: "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

The group agreed a short communique criticising the decision to hold an election at a time when millions of people were displaced and the bloodshed was continuing.

Mr Hague called on the whole international community to "reject these illegitimate elections", saying: "We've also agreed unanimously to take further steps to... do everything we can to hold the Assad regime accountable for the terror it is perpetrating."

He promised the UK government would increase its humanitarian efforts, with £30m of extra funding.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said this money would be used for "a range of different things including helping the opposition and supporting regional sustainability".

In a separate media briefing, US Secretary of State John Kerry commented on France's claim that the Assad government has used chemical weapons at least 14 times since October.

He said he had seen "raw data that suggests that there may have been... a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war".

Mr Kerry added: "If it has, and it could be proven, then that would be against the agreements of the chemical weapons treaty and against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to."

"Out of today's meeting, every facet of what can be done is going to be ramped up - every facet. That includes political effort. It includes aid to the opposition. It includes economic efforts, sanctions," he said.

Friends of Syria was set up in 2012 in response to moves by Russia and China to block UN resolutions against the Assad government.

The meeting comes days after UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped down over lack of progress in ending the crisis.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 489.

    The irony is the "Rebels" worst enemies isn't the government now but the extremists who are fighting for their own agenda and using any means to do it. What The FOS group hasn't or/and most likely doesn't care about is even if they overthrow Assad it'll either be Libya all over again with a weak leadership leading to more instability or Islamic extremists calling the shots.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 488.

    We in Syria have an anecdote which tells of a woman boiling pebbles to dupe her hungry children that she is cooking food for them so that they'll stop crying.The Western powers are doing the same to shut up the Syrian people.The choice is very clear: the certainty that Iran will prevaile if the regime wins or the faint possibility that extreme islamists will dominate. The latter are easy to defeat

  • rate this
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    Comment number 487.

    486 posts, and not 1 to say that we should intervene, or the logistics involved,or those very good statesmanlike reasons why the UK simply MUST take the lead.Time for all of us to give this up,as there is no sway of opinion to tell us how wrong we are to say "No" to yet another proposed foreign war.Let us sit this one out, and say no more aid until the USA, Eurozone, Moslem World, etc.,contribute

  • rate this
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    Comment number 486.

    "the UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections"
    So who do they want to replace him the nice chaps the Americans are backing I.s.i.s I believe there called. Hague maybe talk instead of the Sunni slaughter houses butchering the minority christians. It's strange how you don't care for this potential genocide.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 485.

    It's no coincidence that the current enemies of the west represent the last resistence to the global banking cartels and therefore they must go. Covert funding and arming of terrorists resulting in regime change and if that doesn't work, send in the cruise missiles. One way or another, the sovereignty of every nation will be lost. Iraq, Libya, Syria - they all have or had public central banks.

 

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