Paddy Ashdown
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Ashdown: 'Many differences' between Syria and Bosnia

The former international high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Lord Ashdown has said that there are "many differences" between the current situation in Syria and that in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

His comments come after the Foreign Secretary William Hague said the situation reminded him much more of Bosnia, rather than Libya, citing the escalation of sectarian violence in Syria.

But Lord Ashdown told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that he understood "why, in an attempt to to alert the world to the tragedy that's happening, William Hague is using a piece of shorthand to describe the situation, which is reasonable".

Watching the situation in Syria deteriorating "I'm not sure there's anything immediately you can do," he told presenter Martha Kearney, but added that "Turkey has a really important here to play and I'm sad we haven't used them".

"The worry for me is not just the tragedy and the bloodshed and the horror that's going on in the cities of Syria but also the possibility of a widening Sunni-Shia conflict which could engulf the whole of the Middle East and would have global consequences," he explained.

  • 11 Jun 2012