William Hague and his Iraqi counterpart discussed "the need for a transition to a more democratic and stable Syria"
British Foreign Secretary William Hague talks to journalists after a meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo on September 12. Hague said on a visit to the Iraqi capital that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is "doomed" and should not survive. © Khaled Desouki - AFP
William Hague and his Iraqi counterpart discussed
AFP
Last updated: September 13, 2012

Britain's Hague says Assad regime is doomed

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday during his first visit to the Iraqi capital that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is "doomed" and should not survive.

Hague also accused Iran of providing "active assistance" to Assad in his crackdown in Syria, which began in March 2011 and has escalated into a bloody civil war between opponents and supporters of his regime.

"We believe that the Assad regime is doomed, that it is not possible for it to survive, and so many crimes (have been) committed that it should not survive," Hague said at a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

Hague said they had discussed "the need for a transition to a more democratic and stable Syria. That is the only way to avoid protracted civil war, or the collapse of the Syrian state, or an even greater flow of refugees and loss of life."

"The sooner this conflict in Syria is resolved and brought to an end, the better it will be for the people of Iraq, and for the whole region," Hague said.

"We believe in the creation of a transitional government which would be able to bring peace and stability to Syria again," he added.

Zebari, meanwhile, said that "we agreed on a political, democratic transition and achieving a pluralistic, democratic regime that represents all segments of the Syrian people... and that the Syrian people decide their destiny for themselves, without foreign interference."

Hague also said in a second news conference at the Iraqi parliament, which followed meetings with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, that Iran is assisting Assad's regime in its crackdown.

"We are absolutely opposed to any shipments of arms from Iran and to the Assad regime, and the active assistance that Iran has been giving to the Assad regime to oppress the people of Syria," Hague said, when asked about reported arms shipments from Iran to Syria via Iraqi airspace.

"We would like to see that dealt with, and I have raised that with the Iraqi leaders today," said Hague.

He later departed for Britain at about 4:30 pm (1330 GMT), the British embassy said.

According to a statement on Maliki's website, he said in talks with Hague that Iraq supports a "peaceful solution that guarantees achieving the goals of the Syrian people through a transitional government that calls for free and fair elections," and warned against "the spread of weapons and violence."

A statement from Nujaifi's office, meanwhile, said he emphasised in talks with Hague that: "We hope (the UN) makes more efforts to end the misery of the Syrian people and stop the bloodshed, because its continuation will move the battle to the region, and especially Iraq."

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