Arab League backs Syrian opposition

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Hague confirms UK switching approach on Syria

LONDON – William Hague has confirmed that Britain is switching its focus to supporting the Syrian opposition rather than trying to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Cairo Hague snubbed a call by international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for the UN security council to try to reach agreement on Syria. He said:

We are very grateful for, and support, all the work that Mr Brahimi is doing. He suggests that we try again at the UN Security Council. We are prepared to try again, but our efforts to embody the Geneva consensus and to encourage the UNSC to take on its responsibilities have been vetoed by Russia and China. There is no indication that the outcome now would be different. In the absence of such progress, we will increase our support to Syrian opposition groups.

Hague also welcomed the new Syrian opposition coalition and pledged more support for the opposition if it can show that it is tackling sectarianism and preparing for government.

That coalition gives the opportunity for a united, inclusive and credible political alternative to the Assad regime. We urge them to set out a detailed platform for a political transition to a democratic Syria, and to demonstrate that they are acting on behalf of all Syria’s communities. The more progress the coalition makes towards those goals, the greater practical support it will have from the United Kingdom.

EU welcomes Syrian opposition bloc

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has welcomed the new opposition coalition but expressed concern about the violence in Syria spilling across the border.

Addressing the Arab League meeting in Cairo, AFP quoted her saying: “Countries represented here know the challenges of refugees fleeing for their lives, the threat of the overspill of violence.”

Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague, who is also in Cairo, said he will call for an increase in humanitarian support.

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