Hague keeps options open as Syrian civil war looms

By Cassie Chambers

No options should be off the table when it comes to addressing the violence in Syria, according to foreign secretary William Hague.

Calling the actions of the Assad regime "grotesque" in his statement to parliament today, Mr Hague condemned the regime's role in the conflict, which he says has left as many as 15,000 people dead and 500,000 internally displaced.

"Syria today is on the edge of civil war," Mr Hague said. He called for an "intensified and urgent international effort" to address the conflict before it escalates further.

The foreign secretary suggested the UK government pursue three main goals moving forward: ensuring the implementation of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan, increasing international pressure on the regime and facilitating international justice for the Syrian people.

The Annan plan, launched in February, is seen by many as the best option for promoting long-term peace in the region. Yet the Assad regime's continued attacks have led many to question if it is time for the international community to pursue more drastic measures.

The foreign secretary said he will continue to push for the Annan plan's implementation, but acknowledged that doing so is "not an open-ended commitment".

Should current implementation of the Annan plan fail, Mr Hague warned, he will call for a “new and robust UN security council resolution aimed at compelling the regime to meet its commitments under the plan".

As the international community continues to deal with the “mounting crisis” he said the UK should remain open to any option that could stop the violence.

"We do not want to see the Annan plan fail," said Mr Hague, "but if despite our best efforts it does not succeed, we would have to consider other options for resolving the crisis, and in our view all options should then be on the table."