London, Aug 3: British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the government has been helping Syrian rebels in a “practical and non-lethal way” and intends to step up such help.
The foreign secretary spelled out the British government’s refusal to rely solely on diplomacy in the face of the stalemate on the UN security council, and the resignation of UN envoy Kofi Annan on Thursday.
Hague said Annan’s decision to quit because of the failure of what he had said had become “mission impossible” over Syria was a “bleak moment” both for the people of Syria and for the diplomatic effort by the international community. “Diplomacy has not worked so far, diplomacy has so far failed the people of Syria,” Hague said. “That doesn’t mean that we give up on diplomacy.”
Hague declined to comment on any potential involvement of British intelligence but said Britain for its part has been offering support help in terms of communication and “matters of that kind”.
“We have helped them with communications and matters of that kind, and we will help them more. We will help them in this situation, given the scale of death and suffering and the failures of the diplomatic process, we will over the coming weeks increase our practical but non-lethal support to the opposition,” Hague said.
Hague, however, said the support would not involve sending arms.
“Above all we will be sending the humanitarian assistance that the people of Syria so desperately need,” he said.
“We’ve seen hundreds of thousands cross borders, Britain is the second largest donor to the UN funds which are used to try and look after those people. We may have to do more and certainly the rest of the world needs to do more in that regard and we will do still more to isolate the Assad regime from its remaining associates, or friends, in the world from other parts of the Arab world, we are achieving considerable success, and do still more to document the human rights abuses that are taking place so that one day justice can be done,” he said. (IANS)