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UK softens objection to Iranian role in Syria quartet

British Foreign Office says it has no objection to Egyptian initiative that would include Iran in regional grouping devoted to halting bloodshed in Syria

Amer Sultan in London, Friday 14 Sep 2012
UK softens objection to Iranian role in Syria quartet
British Foreign Secretary William Hague (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 678

The UK has declared that it has no objection to an Egyptian initiative that would include Iran in a 'quartet' mandated with resolving the Syrian crisis.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague had said earlier that Iran's inclusion in peaceful efforts to halt the ongoing bloodshed in Syrian would "not be helpful."

However, a UK foreign office spokesperson has told Ahram Online that London did not necessarily reject the Egyptian initiative, which would seek Iran's help in dealing with the crisis in Syria.

"We welcome [Egyptian] President Morsi's speech on Syria at the [5 September] Arab League meeting in Cairo and his call for robust Arab League action on Syria," said the spokesperson.

The UK government has endorsed Morsi's position that the Middle East region was in need of "cooperation" among its key players. London has voiced its belief that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have important roles to play in this regard.

However, the spokesperson went on to assert: "We doubt that Iran's inclusion in a regional group would contribute to a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, given Iran's ongoing support for the Assad regime."

"This does not mean we are dictating anything on the regional players with regards to resolving the [Syrian] crisis," she added.

Morsi recently said that UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi would be provided with an office in Cairo, where he could meet representatives of the proposed quartet, including those from Iran.

The UK has insisted that Iran's actions stood "in stark contrast to the will of the Syrian people."

London has repeatedly expressed its "deep concern" over allegations that Iran is providing equipment and technical advice to the Damascus regime to help it quash Syria's ongoing armed insurgency.

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