Hague presses Russia over Syria


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Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Moscow to use its full influence to secure a peaceful resolution to the unrest in Syria, when he met his Russian counterpart in Afghanistan today.

Mr Hague and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov met on the margins of the Heart of Asia Conference in Afghan capital Kabul.

They agreed that the situation in Syria had got worse since they met to discuss the issue in Moscow on May 28, said the Foreign Office.

Mr Hague welcomed Russia's proposal for an international conference on Syria, but said that the presence of Iran would be "probably unworkable".

A conference should set out a plan for political transition from the regime of president Bashar Assad and the full implementation of the peace plan of international envoy Kofi Annan, said Mr Hague, who discussed Syria with the former UN secretary general on Monday.

Mr Hague told Mr Lavrov it was important for the UN Security Council - on which both Britain and Russia are permanent members - to remain "seized" of the situation in Syria.

"The Foreign Secretary asked Russia to use its full influence on the Syrian regime to ensure a peaceful resolution of the situation through a political process," said the Foreign Office in a statement issued in London.

Russia, a long-time ally of the Assad regime, has been accused of blocking international moves to bring about a political transition to end the year-long conflict between government forces and rebels in Syria.

In the latest outbreak of violence, at least 10 people were injured by a suicide car bomb outside one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines in capital Damascus today.