Britain will not rule out military action in Syria

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that he couldn’t rule out a military intervention in Syria, saying the situation there was beginning to resemble the violence that gripped Bosnia in the 1990s.

Hague told Sky News television that time was now “clearly running short” to implement international envoy Kofi Annan’s cease-fire plan in Syria, and that Britain was already turning its eye toward what it would do if the plan failed.

Asked if his government had ruled out the use of force, Hague said Sunday that the country was “on the edge of collapse or of a sectarian civil war, so I don’t think we can rule anything out.”

“It is looking more like Bosnia in the 1990s, being on the edge of a sectarian conflict in which neighboring villages are attacking and killing each other,” he said.

The Bosnia conflict broke out in 1992, claiming tens of thousands of lives and embroiling the Balkans in vicious ethnic warfare. Eventually, ineffectual international action was followed by NATO airstrikes, and a peace accord put an end to the fighting in 1995.

Hague told Sky News that Britain’s preference remained for a diplomatic pressure “behind an actual plan of action for transition in Syria.”


Iranian negotiator warns nuclear talks could stall

An Iranian negotiator warned Sunday that this month’s talks in Moscow over Iran’s nuclear program could stall because of faulty preparation.

Ali Bagheri, Iran’s No. 2 nuclear negotiator, said advance talks were agreed on to clarify the agenda for the Moscow round, set for June 18-19.

The official IRNA news agency said Bagheri made the complaint in a letter to senior EU official Helga Schmid on Sunday.

Concerned that Iran might be aiming toward nuclear weapons, the West wants to stop Iran’s 20 percent uranium enrichment program. Western experts say it would not be difficult to upgrade 20 percent enriched uranium to weapons grade. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

In exchange for discussing enrichment, Iran wants the West to ease sanctions.


Socialists stand positioned to take over lower house

President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, bolstered by leftist allies, stands positioned to take control of the lower house of parliament so he can revamp a country his partisans see as too capitalist for the French, and push to save the eurozone through growth, not austerity.

The conservative party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, which has controlled the 577-seat National Assembly since 2002, will likely lose its grip on power in the final round of voting in a week. Sarkozy was defeated in the May 6 final round of the presidential race.

Polling agency projections after Sunday’s first round of voting in legislative elections show the Socialists slightly behind Sarkozy’s UMP party. But other leftist parties expected to support Hollande – including the communist-inspired Leftist Front and the main environmental party – did well Sunday.