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Britain has no plans for military action against Syria, says William Hague


Britain is not seeking foreign military intervention in Syria, but is focused on finding a peaceful resolution to the current unrest, Foreign Secretary William Hague said today.

Mr Hague said the situation in the troubled Middle Eastern state is more similar to Bosnia in the 1990s than to Libya last year, when Britain joined an international military operation to protect civilians during the revolution which ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

His comments came as a spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan called on countries with influence to put "irrevocable pressure" on the parties in Syria to implement his peace plan and "stop the killing".

At a press conference during a visit to Pakistan, Mr Hague said: "Clearly, we are not looking for any foreign military intervention and we should not think about it in terms of 'another Libya'.

"As I was pointing out to the House of Commons yesterday, the analogy is now more to the situation in the Balkans as it develops now, that we see the regime using heavy weapons against civilian-populated areas and then sending in militias to kill and murder people.

"This is reminiscent of Bosnia in the early 1990s.

"So I don't think we should be thinking in terms of the Libyan situation last year. All our efforts are going into supporting a peaceful transition in Syria and a peaceful solution, because any violent solution would clearly involve many more deaths and a great deal more hardship for the Syrian people."

In Geneva, Mr Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said the recent spike in violence by the forces of President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria mirrored a similar increase in violence shortly before the ceasefire plan was agreed in April.

Mr Fawzi said that Mr Annan was hoping to convene an international contact group meeting on Syria soon, when he may ask governments with influence to "twist arms" to enforce his peace plan for the country.

With sectarian violence growing, Mr Fawzi said Mr Annan was urging international powers "to put irrevocable pressure on the parties to implement the plan and stop the killing".