Middle East Peace Process, Syria And Iran

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): I support the Foreign Secretary in his efforts to build on the success on chemical weapons that has been achieved through negotiations by securing an early Geneva II conference. It is crucial to get the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrian Government there, along with our international allies and the moderate opposition. He may have to refuse to accept that recalcitrant, let alone jihadist, opposition groups can exercise a veto.

May I also ask the Foreign Secretary to schedule a full day’s debate on Syria on a substantive motion, because we have not had a chance to discuss Syria policy in detail, despite his admirably regular updates? A pre-agreed motion might afford the House an opportunity to unite around Syria policy, when in August we were divided on military action.

Mr Hague: Personally, I am entirely open to such a debate. The Leader of the House is here. I do not know whether he is open to it, given all the pressures on him, but he will have heard the legitimate point that the right hon. Gentleman has made.

The progress that we have made in setting an ambition to convene the Geneva II peace conference has involved working closely with Russia. It is the product of the five permanent members of the Security Council working together during the General Assembly. That is an important and welcome step on Syria, given the history of the past two and a half years.