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Syria war requires political solution, London says

Jan. 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

LONDON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The optimal way to bring an end to the civil war in Syria is through a negotiated political settlement, British Foreign Minister William Hague said Monday.

Peace talks over the Syrian crisis are scheduled Jan. 22 in Geneva, Switzerland. Hague told members of Parliament his allies agreed diplomacy was the best way forward

"No one should underestimate the difficulty of the negotiations ahead," he said in his remarks. "But we will not give up on diplomacy as the route to stopping the appalling bloodshed."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the Syrian crisis in Paris with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, during a so-called Friends of Syria meeting, which Hague attended.

Kerry credited Turkish leaders with its "very creative and energetic diplomacy" to work with the Syrian opposition ahead of next week's meeting in Geneva.

Members of the Syrian opposition are divided internally. They've expressed reservation about taking part in any political settlement that would keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

Hague said he expected the opposition Syrian National Coalition to make a decision on the Geneva talks by Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Jan. 1 it documented 130,433 deaths in Syria as a result of the civil war that began in March 2011.

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