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
    +67

    Comment number 9.

    We are backing the wrong side.

    Why is the West trying to bring about regime change in Syria

    1. Saudi Arabia (sponsor of Islamic extremism) want it

    2. America see Assad as being too close to Russia & the US military still have a Cold War mentality with respect to Russia.

    This support of so called 'moderates' is naïve & at worst dangerous to our national security

  • rate this
    +49

    Comment number 8.

    'The idea was dismissed by the US as "a parody of democracy"'

    Look at the US system if you want to see a parody of democracy. A two party system is NOT democracy.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 7.

    Another US.UK triggered disaster.

    Stop meddling, stop deluding people with your lies, and there will be no civil wars. You are no World Police, rather the opposite.

    Trial the many war criminals that the UK regularly spwans, instea of lecturing the world like Tony Blair

  • rate this
    +40

    Comment number 6.

    Since when did we all want to support the opposition, because every one knows that if they succeed in ousting assad, do you think they will be all pally with the west, I don't think so.....

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 5.

    maybe it would be better to target extreme left wing fascist racist religist dictators individually rather than let 100,000s of people get killed by not intervening (Syria) or actually intervening (Irag). It is working in Afghanistan where these types are being targeted and removed (i.e. Taliban)

  • rate this
    +38

    Comment number 4.

    Oh goody!

    The Ukraine coup isn't going too well with the extreme right wing folk and their illegal use of UN marked helicopters in combat, so now the Western saviours are refocusing their efforts on the Extreme Islamists in Syria who have just recently destroyed water pump stations in Aleppo cutting the whole city off from fresh water, again another illegal act.

    You couldn't make it up

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 3.

    High level thought:
    Muslims convert others to islam, saying they stick together, look after each other.

    Then why wont the billionaire muslims in the middle east help their fellow muslims in Syria?

    Just a thought….

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 2.

    Why? who are they talking to. A dictator who is doing his best to slaughter his people, or Islamic extremists who when this is over will want to slaughter us.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 1.

    A way forward but I can't see it producing much with the likes of Russia and China in opposition to any UN Resolutions.

 

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