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Hague blasts Russia over Syria veto

Foreign Secretary William Hague has issued a fresh condemnation of Russia's decision to veto a United Nations resolution on Syria and said the international body could be sidelined in efforts to support the opposition movement.

Although the UK would not offer "lethal support" to the rebels, he warned that other countries would step up the supply of arms following the failure of the Security Council to approve a resolution threatening sanctions against president Bashar Assad's regime.

The Security Council will consider a further resolution to extend the mandate of the observer mission for what Mr Hague said would be a "final" 30-day period.

He said Russia would regret its use of the veto, claiming Moscow used a "spurious argument" and warning that its interests in the Middle East would suffer long-term harm as a result of its stance.

China lined up behind Russia in blocking the resolution and Mr Hague said the Security Council was "failing in its responsibilities" as a result of the stalemate.

"We will all be doing more outside the Security Council and intensifying our work to support the Syrian opposition, to give humanitarian aid, outside the work of the Security Council," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We do not give lethal support, but I have no doubt there will be other countries that will give greater lethal support to the Syrian opposition in these circumstances."

Mr Hague said he did not expect the UK to be involved in arming the opposition to Assad's regime.

"I don't rule out any option for the future because we can't foresee how it will develop, but it's never been our policy in any of the conflicts in the Middle East to send lethal assistance to any of the parties involved.

"I do think in this case that the Syrian opposition are receiving arms, that's very evident from their ability to make military progress against a powerfully equipped regime."

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