William Hague says turmoil in the Middle East could ‘last decades’
The Foreign Secretary also calls the situation in Egypt “very bleak”, but says Britain will support democracy in the country
Monday 19 August 2013
The turmoil in the Middle East could take “years, or maybe decades” to “play out”, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary has said.
Claiming that what is happening in the region is the “most important event so far of the 21st century” he said that Britain needed to “keep our nerve” in supporting democratic practices and institutions.
“I think it will take years, maybe decades, to play out, and through that we have to keep our nerve in clearly supporting democracy, democratic institutions, promoting dialogue and there will be many setbacks in doing that,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
Speaking specifically about Egypt, he said that the situation in the country was “very bleak” and while issues in the country, and others, would echo through the decades it was important to remain upbeat about the desire from the majority of Egyptians for democracy, and the role that Britain could play despite having “limited” influence.
“I would not accept. . . there is nothing at all we can do about it . . . We have to do our best to promote democratic institutions and political dialogue and to keep faith with the majority of Egyptians who just want a peaceful and stable country,” he said.
Mr Hague added that the UK government had reacted effectively to the situation in Egypt over the last few days by suspending projects with security forces and revoking a number of export licences.
The government has also condemned the “disproportionate use of force” by the Egyptian authorities and called on all sides to enter dialogue.
Mr Hague said the loss of Mohamed ElBaradei from the interim government was a blow and a “bad sign” and reflected Britain's own concerns over the violence.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU ambassadors today to discuss the crisis, as international alarm continues to grow at the death toll in the country, Mr Hague said that European countries should “review together” how to try and aid Egypt.
On Sunday, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy issued a rare joint statement warning that the EU would “urgently” review its relations with Egypt in the coming days.
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Ex-Scientologist Carmen Llwyelyn blasts 'cult' and her treatment after divorce with Jason Lee
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Tunisia attack: 'Paralysed' police let gunman run amok for half an hour, says witness
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...