(MENAFN - Arab News) Britain denounced President Bashar Assad's speech yesterday calling for a conference of national dialogue to end the Syrian conflict as "beyond hypocritical."
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assad's first speech to the nation since June was full of "empty promises" and would "fool no-one."
In an address to an ecstatic audience in a Damascus theater, Assad called for a conference of national dialogue to be followed by a referendum on a national charter and parliamentary elections.
Hague took to Twitter to vent his anger about the speech, writing: "AssadSpeech beyond hypocritical. Deaths, violence and oppression engulfing Syria are his own making, empty promises of reform fool no one."
George Sabra, vice president of the opposition National Coalition, told Reuters the peace plan Assad put at the heart of his speech did "not even deserve to be called an initiative."
"We should see it rather as a declaration that he will continue his war against the Syrian people," he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron earlier reiterated his calls for the Syrian leader to stand down. "My message to Assad is go," he told BBC TV. "He has the most phenomenal amount of blood on his hands."