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Hague

Britain's Hague called on Syrian Opposition to “Unite”

(DP-News - agencies)

LONDON- British Foreign Secretary William Hague  called on Syrian opposition to "unite" against President Bashar al-Assad. Meeting in London was characterised by UK officials as an intensification of contact with Assad opponents.

"It is important for opposition groups to be able to put aside their own differences and come to a united view of the way forward," Hague made the remarks after meeting with Syrian opposition representatives in London on Monday. 

Syria’s political opposition widened its outreach Monday, sending representatives to Britain as the Syrian government withstood signs of further isolation over an uprising that is increasingly resembling a prolonged armed struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

William Hague, Britain’s foreign secretary, met with the opposition representatives, the Foreign Office said on its website. Hague did not specify what type of assistance, if any, was discussed, but he said in a statement that “we want to continue to step up the international pressure on President al-Assad regime, a regime that has long since lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the wider world.”

Hague said Britain was not ready to recognize the Syrian opposition as the country's legitimate government.



"We are not at the point of a formal recognition, partly because there is not a single council as there was in Libya. They are not in control of territory in Syria as the council was in Libya and the international community has not reached that point," Hague said.

The Syrian opposition members were also scheduled to meet senior officials of Prime Minister David Cameron at his Downing Street office.

As part of the plan to step up contact, Frances Guy, a former ambassador to Beirut, had been appointed to coordinate relations with the Syrian opposition.

The delegation included members of the opposition Syrian National Council and the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change, in meetings expected to take place on Monday, a Foreign Office source said.

"We have been having regular contacts with a variety of figures in the Syrian opposition for several months. We are now intensifying these," the Foreign Office said Friday.

The remarks of Hague came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's confirmation that he would press on with a crackdown against what he called armed groups targeting civilians, policemen, army personnel in his country despite increased pressure from the Arab League (AL).

"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," al-Assad told the Britain's Sunday Times newspaper. "However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it," he said.

Syria’s U.N. ambassador accused European powers on Monday of declaring political and diplomatic war against his country by sponsoring a U.N. resolution that would condemn Syria’s human rights violations.

Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said that Britain, France and Germany are “suffering from Syria-phobia.”

President al-Assad’s regime blames the country’s unrest on armed gangs carrying out a foreign agenda that seeks to destabilize Syria. Most foreign analysis said that Syria uprising has been largely peaceful, but has grown increasingly militarized with army defectors fighting back and some protesters taking up arms.

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