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
    0

    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
    0

    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
    0

    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
    +1

    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
    0

    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.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 484.

    The only thing that's a "parody" Mr. Hague is your foreign policy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 483.

    @461.

    The Ukraine does not have a Libyan dictator like Gadaffi or Assad or Saddam. The Ukranian people & parliament are not protesting now against their new temporary leader.

    No the protestors & instigators are simply russian agents trying the same take over tactics as in Crimea with russian troops waiting on the border.

    ISAF should now enter the Ukraine with 5-10 thousand peace keepers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 482.

    People on hear asking why Hague is against democracy in "other countries" , I am surprised at the question as I thought everyone knew by now that politicians don't want democracy anywhere as most of them would be out of a job

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 481.

    John Kerry throwing another unverified claim of chemical weapons usage , will he again pluck some magical number (1429) out of the sky ?

    When he quoted that magic number last year he was not made to provide any evidence even though no other source claimed such a high (or accurate !) number of casualties/deaths.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 480.

    @478.

    The west (governments & most people) support democracy, not murderous dictators. Assad is a dictator, is it better for a leader to resign or destroy his whole country & hundreds of thousands of people & should the world not encourage Assad's resignation & fair UN verified elections ??

    Many people in the Ukraine wanted a new leader & democracy, not a russian puppet.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 479.

    Quote from William Hague "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

    Would that be the "rebels" who :
    1. Murdered 48 people in a blast near the Turkish border.?
    2. Shot a Times journalist in the legs and beat up him and his colleague ?

    I used the term "rebels" as it seems the BBC refuse to call them terrorists !

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 478.

    In Ukraine a democratically elected president was evicted by a howling mob, just imagine that in UK. We evict Cameron by rioting! In both Ukraine & Syria the "West" now supports illegal " take overs" by (in some cases) terrorists because it suits their anti Russian/Assad policies. Just who are the good guys here??

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 477.

    It has to be proven who has been using these chlorine & chemical weapons, Syria or the rebels ?

    On other world issues & international treaties it seems that many countries are selfishly happy to do nothing & let evil continue. Whereas some countries like many western countries who get accused of being the world's police at least try to do something to uphold international rules & can be proud.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 476.

    @453.

    The elections in Syria will be run by a dictator who has been in power for way to long, do you think they will be fair ? Or is this a case where some countries like Russia don't want fair elections because they are scared of extremists maybe being elected who won't want to be russian puppets?

    The Crimea election was full of mistakes & without proper security & checks.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 475.

    Reckon that this topic has been done to death,every argument has been raised,EXCEPT the "Whys", "Hows" ,"WHO Withs" and "Whens" of any Western Military Involvement, I think it is that anyone of that view can see no reasons,for there are no reasons, to send our Armed Forces into action, and so their silence is golden,though their eyes can see the views expressed here and elsewhere.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 474.

    Yes no one should want to rush in & be involved in wars. This Syria war is also complicated with Russia & Iran heavily involved & why should "onward christian soldiers" get involved & pay the costs & lives & get no thanks for trying to stop the war & human suffering.

    One issue is Syria using chlorine & chemical weapons against the treaty they signed & should other countries just ignore this ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 473.

    There's 'bad guys' (using an Americanism) on both sides. Siding with one over the other is effectively subsidising terrorism.

    And why are we so arrogant to sit up way up high in our moral ivory embellished towers telling other nations what to do?

    The age of the empire is over. Time to concentrate on putting our own house in order, before involving ourselves (again) in foreign conflicts.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 472.

    I deplore the lack of leadership and moral fibre on the whole question of Syria, the world seems to just wring its hands as thousands die or are displaced. It does not bode well for the future at all. Edmund Burke wrote:
    „All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 471.

    I take it Tony Blair and Gordon Brown .Will be helping Assad .TONY.B has previous on how to get a none elected in the P.Ms Job.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 470.

    Hague is the worst foreign secretary we have ever had. He only wants to be an American poodle and suck up to Saudi Arabia for their oil.

    He just doesn't get it! The British public have said no to intervention in Syria or supporting a rabble of Saudi / US backed Islamists.

    Our politicians have learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

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    08:28: Coming up

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  56.  
    08:20: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to Politics Live. Over the course of the next 10 hours we'll be bringing you all the news, views and analysis as it happens from the BBC's political team in text and video - including all the key moments from the Andrew Marr Show, Sunday Politics, the World This Weekend and reaction to the big Sunday newspaper stories. You can see how Friday, which was a Churchill remembered special, unfolded by clicking here.

     

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