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Britain recognises Syria opposition coalition

posted 20 Nov 2012, 07:03 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Nov 2012, 07:04 ]

Britain recognises the new Syrian opposition coalition and says there is no military solution in Gaza conflict.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (NOVEMBER 20, 2012) (PARLIAMENT TV) -  Britain has officially recognised the fledgling Syrian National Coalition, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday (November 20), giving the opposition group a degree of legitimacy that could make it easier to secure aid and arms.

The coalition was formed earlier this month to unite Syria's splintered opposition groups seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad, and on Monday (November 19) the European Union said it considered the group "legitimate representatives" of the Syrian people.

"Her majesty's government has decided to recognise the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and opposition forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. As the president of the national coalition said to me on Friday, recognition imposes responsibilities on the coalition and we will continue to impress upon them the need to uphold their commitments," Hague told parliament.

France recognised the group last week, and both London and Paris' endorsements appear to go further than Monday's EU-wide recognition of the coalition as the legitimate representatives of the "aspirations" of the Syrian people.

As for the crisis in Gaza, Hague called for a ceasefire and said there was no military solution.

"We wish to see an agreed ceasefire that stops the rocket attacks against Israel and ends Israeli military operations. Efforts to agree a ceasefire are continuing as I speak and the U.N. Security Council will continue discussions on the situation today," Hague said.

"There is no military solution to the crisis in Gaza or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace becomes harder to achieve with each military confrontation, each loss of life and the creation of facts on the ground. The only way to give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve and the Israeli people the security and peace they are entitled to, is through a negotiated two-state solution."

Hague said Britain warned against a ground incursion in Gaza, saying it could lengthen the conflict and erode international support for Israel.