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UK wants India to support new UN resolution on Syria

July 16, 2012 17:33 IST
Britain wants India to support a soon-to-be introduced United Nations resolution that threatens sanctions against the Syrian government if it does not immediately implement a ceasefire, saying it would serve the country'slong-term interest in the region.

As part of its efforts to drum up support for the resolution that is likely to be tabled this week, Britain has dispatched one of its top diplomats to New Delhi to hold talks with officials here and explain why Western countries are tabling the document.

Irfan Siddiq, head of the Arab partnership department, foreign and commonwealth office, dismissed suggestions that the resolution was being imposed by Western countries and said "we are very much responding to the voice" of the region.

"The draft resolution threatens of sanctions against the Syrian government. It talks of global sanctions against the regime. The United States, the United Kingdon and France have prepared the draft document and it has been circulated now," he told the media in New Delhi.

Siddiq, who will be meeting officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and others regarding the issue, said, India needs to "recognise" the change in the Middle East and that the country should play a "pro-active" role in the process.

"India should support the UN resolution. It will be in its long-term interest in the region...India has huge interest in the region and huge opportunities for solid cooperation," he said, talking about India's role.

He was also critical of Russia's opposition to the draft resolution saying it has been adopting a "black and white" agenda while the "change has come from the region and the people".

The diplomat also lashed out at Iran for its "one-sided" policy of supporting the Syrian regime and even accused it of providing arms support to it.

"If Iran was open-minded, it should have opened a dialogue and resolved the issue. It should have tried to find a solution. But it has been constantly playing in an unbalanced way," he said.

On question relating to Islamist parties coming to power in crisis-hit           Egypt and Tunisia, he said that was a cause of concern but the UK would not pre-judge the governments because they have been "genuinely" elected by people.

"There are risks involved. It has caused concern about potential move towards radicalisation, but we are much more balance balanced and pragmatic. They have the popular mandate of the people. We don't want to pre-judge," he said.



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