Hague meets Syria opposition

Foreign Secretary William Hague is meeting a group of Syrian rebel leaders in London. Hague said he will discuss the possibility of providing more non-lethal assistance.

Douglas Alexander: UK should de-escalate Syria conflict

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said that the newly formed Syrian National Coalition represents an opportunity to overcome the impasse caused by divisions among the Syrian opposition.

The time has come for the UK to do what France and now Turkey has already done and officially recognise the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

The correct focus for the UK's efforts in the days ahead must be helping unify the Syrian opposition, not helping arm the Syrian opposition. We should be working not to escalate the conflict but to de-escalate it.

– Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander

Hague: Syria needs a diplomatic solution

When asked by reporters about the likelihood of military intervention in Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the Government won't "rule out any option on Syria" but said that the country needs a diplomatic solution

We don't rule out any option on Syria but we are consious that whatever happens this needs a diplomatic solution, a military victory of one side over the other would be a long, expensive process in terms of human life and so our top priority remains to achieve a diplomatic and political solution.

We can't stand still. We can't say we'll leave things as they are in Syria because it is a gravely deteriotraing situation.

– Foreign Secretary William Hague

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Foreign Secretary and Syrian opposition leaders in London

William Hague and leaders of the Syrian opposition pose for pictures in Whitehall ahead of a meeting to discuss the group's plan for political transition, as it fights to oust president Bashar Assad's regime.

Foreign Secretary William Hague shakes hands with President Sheikh Ahmed Mu'az Al-Khatb of the Syrian opposition movement.
Foreign Secretary William Hague shakes hands with President Sheikh Ahmed Mu'az Al-Khatb of the Syrian opposition movement. Credit: PA

The Foreign Secretary met with President Sheikh Ahmed Mu'az Al-Khatb and Suheir Atass of the Syrian opposition movement at the Foreign and Commonwealth office in Whitehall, London.

William Hague with President Sheikh Ahmed Mu'az Al-Khatb (third right) of the Syrian opposition movement, and Suheir Atassi (far right).
William Hague with President Sheikh Ahmed Mu'az Al-Khatb (third right) of the Syrian opposition movement, and Suheir Atassi (far right). Credit: PA

Britain is expected to decide within days whether to recognise the new Syrian opposition coalition as the legitimate voice of the country's people.

'Non-lethal assistance' an option for Syrian rebels

William Hague has reiterated that Britain will not provide arms to the Syrian opposition, ahead of his meeting today with a group of rebel leaders in London, but said they will discuss the possibility of the UK providing more non-lethal assistance.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

We have to look at all the options. We discussed this in the National Security Council yesterday. We have made no decision to change our current policy, and we have an EU arms embargo.

We are very much committed to intensifying our efforts, sending humanitarian aid. We will discuss with the opposition today giving them more non-lethal assistance - not arms, but other practical assistance we can send that helps save lives.

But of course, we will discuss with our European partners the future of the arms embargo. We have made no decision to change that so far.

– Foreign Secretary William Hague

William Hague to meet Syrian opposition group

Foreign Secretary  William Hague is set to meet leaders of the Syrian opposition today in London.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is set to meet leaders of the Syrian opposition today in London. Credit: PA

William Hague will today meet Syrian rebel leaders fighting to topple president Bashar Assad's brutal regime.

The Foreign Secretary will urge the group to develop a clear plan for political transition in Syria when he opens the London talks.

He will also press for the need to respect human rights and "win over the middle ground of opinion" in the nation amid the spiralling violence meted out by the regime.

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