William Hague says Middle East in 2013 a ‘perfect storm’

Foreign Secretary William Hague (Photo: AP)

Foreign Secretary William Hague (Photo: AP)

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that 2013 could see a ‘perfect storm’ in the Middle East and that President Barack Obama must lead the way on Israel.

This year “will be a crucial year in the Middle East,” Mr Hague said at a lecture in Sydney. “We could see a perfect storm of crises converging if the conflict in Syria continues, the Middle East peace process remains stalled, and if Iran will not enter into meaningful negotiations over its nuclear programme.”

He said that Mr Obama should take charge and that there was no time for delay, as a two - state solution would soon become impossible.

“We recognise the immense obstacles to the peace process, not least of all the role of Hamas in Gaza,” he said. “But still, we believe that it must be a priority for President Obama’s re-elected administration to launch a new effort to start the peace process, greater in intensity than anything seen since the Oslo Accords.”

He said he knew this was a “tall order” but that the consequences of failing to do so were “extremely grave”.

Last updated: 3:22pm, January 20 2013