Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): But surely the Foreign Secretary must accept that his specific and chilling refusal to rule out western, British-backed military activity in Syria will make a disastrous policy even more disastrous. Nobody can win this civil war. Assad’s savage regime has the backing of at least a third of the population, including Christians and other minorities. The conflict is also a proxy for Sunni versus Shi’a, for Saudi Arabia versus Iran and for the west versus Russia and China. We have to resolve this by political settlement, not by upping the military stakes.
Mr Hague: I think I made the point a few moments ago that there can only be a political and diplomatic solution. It is also important to point out that no one knows exactly how events in Syria will proceed in the coming months and years. Situations such as the one that arose in Libya last year and the present one in Syria are uncharted territory in international affairs. It is foolish to rule out options when we do not know how the situation will proceed. However, it is right to place huge emphasis on diplomatic and political progress and on humanitarian assistance, as I have done in my statement.