Friday 24 January 2020

William Hague calls on Russia to take stand on Syria

Joe Churcher

BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague has urged Russia to join diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Syria as he warned the United Nations had "failed" in its duty.

Mr Hague is chairing a meeting of the UN Security Council on the so-called Arab Spring which is likely to be dominated by the ongoing bloodshed in Homs and other towns and cities.

Moscow - along with China - has twice vetoed resolutions calling on Syrian president Bashar Assad to step aside in a bid to end the year-long brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is also due to meet for one-on-one talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton amid continued disagreement over the approach to take.

The UN estimates that the violence has killed over 7,500 people.

Mr Hague said the continued stand-off was "deeply frustrating".

"That is why we will be raising it at the United Nations Security Council meeting today - a meeting which I have called and which I will chair," he told the BBC.

"I am glad that the Russian foreign minister will be there, as well as Hillary Clinton and many other foreign ministers. We have to have some straight talking about it as well as negotiations.

"We want agreement on a United Nations Security Council resolution.

A resolution that backs Kofi Annan, that backs the work of the Arab League, that calls for humanitarian access and an end to violence.

"It ought to be possible for the nations of the United Nations Security Council to agree a resolution which contains those elements.

"I will say in the debate that the United Nations Security Council so far has failed in its responsibilities. It does not mean in any way that we stop trying."

Mr Hague said the UK remained of the view that it was very hard to see how anything other than the removal of Assad would satisfy the Syrian people.

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