Last updated: 15 February, 2014

Syria talks failure a serious setback, says Hague

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague on Saturday blamed President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the breakdown in talks between Syria’s warring sides, calling the situation a “serious setback” for peace.

“The failure to agree an agenda for future rounds of talks … is a serious setback in the search for peace in Syria, and the responsibility for it lies squarely with the Assad regime,” Hague said in a statement.

A second round of peace talks broke off Saturday without making any progress and without a date being set for a third round, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva.

But Hague said “this cannot be the end of the road.”

He added: “With the war in Syria causing more death and destruction every day, we owe it to the people of Syria to do all we can to make progress towards a political solution. So we will continue to give our strong support to Lakhdar Brahimi and the Geneva process.

“It is also now more urgent than ever to move forward with a UN Security Council resolution that addresses the appalling humanitarian suffering in Syria. The people in Syria’s besieged areas and the many parts of the country not receiving any aid cannot wait,” Hague said.

The opposition has insisted that the focus of the talks must be on creating a transitional government, without Assad. The regime representatives have meanwhile stubbornly insisted that Assad’s position is non-negotiable.