Syria massacre: UK's William Hague sickened by child deaths

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Media captionWilliam Hague: "It is a familiar tactic of the Assad regime to blame others for what is happening"

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said he is "absolutely sickened" by the massacre of unarmed men, women and children in Syria.

He has renewed calls for President Bashar-al Assad to adopt the United Nation's (UN) six point plan, or potentially face more sanctions.

The UN has confirmed the deaths of at least 90 people in Houla, including 32 children under the age of 10.

Syria's foreign ministry denied army involvement, blaming "terrorists".

The UN security council will meet at 19:30 BST on Sunday, to discuss the situation in Syria.

Mr Hague wrote on Twitter that Syria's most senior diplomat in the UK will be summoned to the Foreign Office (FCO) on Monday, so that the UK government can underline it's "absolute horror" at what happened in Houla.

He also echoed comments made on Sunday by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, that members of the regime could be banned from the Olympics.

'Abused, murdered and tortured'

Mr Hague said the recent deaths in Houla "shine a light to the whole world on the oppression and brutality of the regime".

He said: "They are part of 12,000 to 15,000 thousand deaths in Syria in the past year, at the hands of the Assad regime.

"The children are among many hundreds abused, murdered and tortured, which again illustrates the type of tyranny the people of Syria are experiencing."

The foreign secretary insisted that the Assad regime implement the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six point plan , which aims to bring about a cease fire and open political dialogue.

He said the FCO were discussing what "other steps" can be taken against Syria in the coming days, and said the European Union (EU) were working on "more sanctions" against the regime.

He said: "The international community are not agreed on intervention, or what type of intervention, if the Annan plan fails.

"Time is running out for the Assad regime to adopt and implement the Annan plan, and stop the torture, abuse and murder of it's own people."

Mr Hague will fly to Russia later on Sunday, where he will meet the foreign minister to call for "support, rapid and unequivocal pressure on Assad regime and accountability for crimes".

The UN Security Council will meet in Moscow amid the mounting international outrage over the Houla massacre.

Russia and China have been the principle opponents of stronger action UN action against the Syrian regime.

The Syrian charge d'affaires will meet FCO political director Sir Geoffrey Adams "who will make clear our condemnation of the Syrian regime's actions".

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has said it is "not at all" responsible for what happened in Houla.

A spokesman said that "terrorists" were to blame for the deaths and the government had opened an investigation.


Regarding the Olympics, Mr Hague said the UK government "had the power" to prevent members of the Assad regime from entering the country.

Earlier, Mr Clegg told the BBC's Andrew Marr that if any member of the Syrian Olympic delegation was shown to be part of the ruling regime, they would be denied entry to the UK.

"The scenes of savagery that we have seen on our television screens are revolting, stomach-churning," he said.

"As far as we are concerned, we have recently said very clearly: if you've abused human rights - that's shown to be the case - you are not welcome in this country."

Mr Hague added: "We do know who we are looking for, to watch for, and we do have the power to stop them coming into the UK, even when the Olympics are on."

Locog, the games' organisers said it is in the process of receiving the names of all athletes, officials, guests and delegates being sent to London by each of the countries taking part.

The names are being passed on to the Home Office and FCO for checking against lists of individuals whose presence in the UK is deemed undesirable, or who appear on the records of international bodies such the EU and International Criminal Court as being suspected of human rights abuses.

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