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'No plans' for Western military action on Syria, Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Members of the Free Syrian Army demonstrate against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Marat al-Numan near the northern province of Idlib. (R)

Members of the Free Syrian Army demonstrate against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Marat al-Numan near the northern province of Idlib. (R)

LONDON, (AFP) — Western nations have no immediate plans for military action to stop the repression of protests in Syria or to halt Iran’s nuclear programme, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.

Asked if there was a possibility of a no-fly zone in Syria like the one imposed over Libya last year, Hague said there was “no serious prospect” of a UN resolution on the subject.

“We haven’t been looking at a no-fly zone,” Hague told Sky News, saying it would be only effective in tandem with other measures, and that the Syrian regime had not been relying on air power to repress protests.

“There is no serious prospect certainly at the moment of the United Nations Security Council agreeing any resulution at the moment, let alone agreeing a resolution comparable to anything that happened in Libya.”

But he said that if the current Arab League monitoring mission in Syria does not work “I hope they (the Arab League) will come to the UN and suggest a way forward that we can all get behind.”

Hague was also cool on suggestions by Qatar that Arab forces should be sent into Syria to stop the deadly 10-month crackdown on dissent by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

On Iran, Hague warned that Tehran’s “dangerous” nuclear drive threatened profileration across the Middle East.

“We must not be put off further sanctions by bluster or statements from Iran,” Hague said, adding that he hoped European Union foreign ministers would agree new measures when they meet on January 23.

“If it continues it will produce nuclear profileration across the Middle East, which will then be extremely dangerous for the people of Iran, for the whole region and for the peace of the world.”

Hague refused to rule out military action against Iran but said Britain was not calling for it.

“We’ve never ruled anything out, we’ve not ruled out any option, or we’ve not ruled out supporting any option, we believe all options should be on the table, that is part of the pressure on Iran, he said.

“But we’re clearly not calling for or advocating military action, we’re advocating negotiation, meaningful negotiations, if Iran will enter in to them.”

The West accuses Iran of trying to produce a nuclear weapon, but Iran says its programme is for civilian use.

Freed Syrian prisoners gather in front of posters showing Syrian President Bashar Assad and his father Hafez Assad, after they were released from Adra Prison on the north-east outskirts of Damascus. (AP)

Freed Syrian prisoners gather in front of posters showing Syrian President Bashar Assad and his father Hafez Assad, after they were released from Adra Prison on the north-east outskirts of Damascus. (AP)

A demonstrator holds a banner during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Yabroud . The banner reads, "Put on trial Bashar al-Assad, first terrorist in the world and child killer". (R)

A demonstrator holds a banner during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Yabroud . The banner reads, “Put on trial Bashar al-Assad, first terrorist in the world and child killer”. (R)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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