Hague's farewell tribute to Hillary Clinton

Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brussels in December 2012 Photo: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

William Hague has been speaking to reporters on a visit to Washington. He is in the United States to say farewell to the outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On Syria, the Foreign Secretary argued Western policy must not stay static, and should evolve if the killing becomes still worse.

But he acknowledged there were no easy answers and that arming rebels was very difficult because weapons could so easily fall into the wrong hands. He said diplomacy with Russia on the Syria question had improved:

It's no longer a brick wall; it's a brick wall with a crack in it.

On Mali, the Foreign Secretary said he wasn't surprised by the rapid advance of the French military but conceded that the political track would be difficult and that the priority would be boosting a legitimate government.

On Israel and Palestine, he said the window on a peace deal closing, "but it isn't yet shut." He described the second term of the Obama Presidency as "possibly the last chance for a two-state settlement.".

He described Hillary's legacy as impressive, saying America had shown a "wise balance" of projecting power but not risking over-reach.

He praised her work on human rights, and women's rights in particular.

Tonight the British Embassy hosts a dinner for Hillary Clinton. It's a tribute, the Foreign Secretary said, to a special relationship.