Hague: Syria to face more pressure
LONDON (Reuters) - Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday the international community would do as much as it could to turn up the heat on Syria after President Bashar al-Assad said he would not bow to pressure to crack down on protesters.
"We will increase the pressure on the Assad regime. I discussed this with the Secretary of the Arab League yesterday and I believe they will wish to do so at their further meeting tomorrow," he told BBC Radio in an interview.
"The behaviour of that regime is appalling and unacceptable and of course we will do what we can to support democracy in Syria in the future."
Hague will meet representatives of various Syrian opposition groups in London later on Monday in an intensification of contacts with opponents of Assad.
"We're not at the point of a formal recognition of them ... partly because there are differing groups; there isn't a single national council as there was in Libya ... and the international community has not yet reached that point."
Hague said the international community had "done a lot" already to ratchet up the pressure on Assad, including imposing sanctions and stopping all of Syria's crude oil exports from entering European Union waters, representing a quarter of the regime's revenues.
"We are working this week on a further round of sanctions which I hope we can agree next week," Hague added.
(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison)
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