UK`s foreign secretary warns on Mideast peace

Hague said he feared current protests could hamper Middle East peace process.

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2011, 00:22 AM IST

London: British Foreign Secretary William
Hague warned on Wednesday that public protests which have swept the
Arab world could put the Middle East peace process in

Hague, speaking during a rare trip by a British
minister to Yemen, met with president Ali Abdullah Saleh - who
has responded to anti-government demonstrations by announcing
he won`t run for another term in elections scheduled for 2013.

He also met opposition figures as part of a three-day,
five country tour of the Middle East and northern Africa,
intended to offer British support as nations respond to a
noisy public outcry for democracy.

Hague told The Times of London in an interview
published today that he feared current protests could hamper
already sluggish progress on the Middle East peace process.

"Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and
Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace
process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and
will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region," he was
quoted as telling the newspaper.

Hague told The Associated Press in Munich last week
that pro-democracy demonstrations would likely lead to a more
complex political landscape in the Middle East, urging Israel
and the US to accelerate progress on peace talks.

"I hope that it underlines to Israeli leaders the need
to do that, because events may complicate still further the
politics of the Middle East," Hague said.