Assad should reform or step aside: Britain

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad should bring in reforms or leave power, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday after fresh violence in the country.

"President Assad is losing legitimacy and should reform or step aside," Hague told parliament, adding Britain's voice to similar calls from the United States and France.

Hague said Britain was seeking support for a draft UN Security Council resolution "condemning the repression in Syria".

He stressed that the passing of a resolution required the support of nine Security Council members and no vetoes.

"We are working to persuade other countries that the Security Council has a responsibility to speak out," he said.

Hague said the draft resolution also calls for the Syrian government "to meet their people's legitimate demands, release all prisoners of conscience, lift restrictions on the media and Internet and cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights".

Britain was among the Western powers who drew up the draft, although it was strongly opposed by Russia and China during expert level talks among Security Council diplomats.

© 2011 AFP

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