Britain welcomes Assad's call for Syria reforms
British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the Syrian president's call Saturday for emergency law to be lifted, saying reforms were "necessary and urgent".
"I welcome President (Bashar) Assad's acknowledgement in his speech today that reform in Syria is necessary and urgent to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," Hague said in a statement.
"We call on the Syrian government to lift the state of emergency next week as proposed by President Assad and to ensure that those responsible for the deaths of civilians are held to account."
Assad announced that the emergency law that has been in force since 1963 would be abolished within a week, and also expressed sorrow over the deaths of an estimated 200 people in a month of protests demanding greater freedoms.
© 2011 AFP