Hague hints at harder line if regime shuns Syria peace plan

Foreign Secretary says UN resolution may allow 'further measures' if Assad ignores ceasefire

Brussels

Bashar al-Assad's regime is flouting the Kofi Annan plan for ending the violence in Syria and punitive action can be taken if it is in breach of the United Nations resolution on the crisis, William Hague declared yesterday amid rising calls for intervention in the country.

As an international meeting of the "Friends of Syria" states took place in Paris, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused the regime, which yesterday agreed a deal outlining rules for the deployment of observers to monitor Mr Annan's ceasefire plan, of failing to show it was committed to peace. He also called for an expanded mission of at least 300 observers – 50 more than the regime has said it will accept – to monitor violations of the ceasefire. Only a small advance team of observers is currently in the country.

At the same time, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, claimed that a humanitarian corridor was now imperative. He accused President Assad of "lying shamelessly" and "trying to wipe Homs off the map just like Gaddafi wanted to raze Benghazi from the map".

Speaking at a Nato meeting in Brussels, Mr Hague said that "for the first time in 15 months we have a security resolution that sets out what they need to do to implement the Annan plan, which includes a real ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from populated areas.

"So if they [the regime] are in breach of that resolution, the UN Security Council is entitled to consider what further measures can be taken. I don't want at this stage to speculate about those measures but we and many others would want to return to this very vigorously," he said.

Russia and China have refused to back repeated attempts to involve the UN in the Syrian uprising, pointing out that a resolution on Libya to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilians was used to mount an air campaign which ensured regime change. However, Moscow and Beijing did vote for Security Council resolution 2042 putting the peace plan brokered by Mr Annan into effect.

The UK will "intensify" support for the Syrian opposition and provide an additional £4m in aid for refugees. A UN-sponsored survey by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre found that the numbers of civilians uprooted since the uprising began had risen to 230,000.

Mr Hague pointed out the dire humanitarian situation and said he had asked the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to press President Assad to end hostilities. He continued: "Russia did help last week to put pressure on the Assad regime to ostensibly accept the Annan plan, to accept a ceasefire. And that is why we look to Russia to continue to be helpful in saying to the Assad regime, 'look if this breaks down, the whole world will be able to see who's responsible'."

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato Secretary-General, has maintained during this summit that Nato does not want to get involved in Syria, particularly as there is no legal mandate to do so. However, the crisis has been discussed by delegates. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the US had been sending a significant amount of non-lethal supplies, including communications equipment.

Mr Lavrov, speaking at the Nato conference, accused the West of turning a blind eye to attacks by rebels, while pillorying the regime. "There are armed groups which are being supplied with weapons by outside countries, there have been terrorist bombings in Damascus and Aleppo. But we are supposed to believe that all that is happening is the Syrian government [is] using tanks to shoot down demonstrators," he said.

He claimed that the "so-called 'Friends of Syria'" group – which includes the US and Britain – was being "unhelpful" in promoting the peace process, saying that its uncritical support was encouraging the opposition not to compromise.

"It is up to everyone to help the Kofi Annan plan," he said.

Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
VIDEO
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit