Britain calls for more international pressure on Syria

1st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called Monday for "stronger international pressure" on Syria following a deadly crackdown on protesters, but ruled out military intervention.

"We want to see stronger international pressure all round, and of course to be effective that can't just be pressure from Western nations," Hague told BBC radio after Syrian security forces killed nearly 140 people on Sunday.

"That includes from Arab nations, it includes from Turkey that has been very active in trying to persuade President (Bashar al) Assad to reform instead of embarking on these appalling actions."

Britain, along with France, Germany, Portugal and the United States, have been pushing for weeks for some kind of UN Security Council condemnation of the violence in Syria.

"We do want to see additional sanctions, and we have agreed a further round of sanctions at the European Union which will be announced in detail later this week," Hague said.

He added: "I would also like to see a United Nations Security Council Resolution to condemn this violence, to call for the release of political prisoners, to call for legitimate grievances to be responded to."

However, he admitted that divisions in the council made this "quite difficult", adding the situation was "very frustrating".

Hague stressed there was no prospect of achieving a UN mandate for military intervention such as in Libya.

"It's not a remote possibility, even if we were in favour of that, which we're not," he said.

"There is no prospect of a legal, morally sanctioned military intervention. And therefore we have to concentrate on other ways of influencing the Assad regime and of trying to help the situation in Syria," he said.

"It is a very frustrating situation. The levers that we have in this situation are relatively limited but we should be frank in admitting that and working with the ones that we have."

Activists said Syrian security forces killed at least 100 people when the army stormed the flashpoint protest city of Hama on Sunday, and dozens were killed in other cities.

© 2011 AFP

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