Muallem Meets Hague: We Hope Miqati Would Form a Unity Cabinet

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday urged all political parties in Lebanon to join a new government headed by Najib Miqati and opposed by outgoing Premier Saad Hariri.

"We call on all parties to join the Miqati cabinet, and Syria is ready to cooperate with this government," Muallem told a joint news conference with his British counterpart William Hague.

"What has happened in Lebanon is in line with the constitution. We respect the choice of the representatives of the Lebanese people, and we hope the prime minister-designate can form a government of national unity," he added.

"The UK looks for a government formed in accordance with Lebanon's constitution, that commands the broadest possible support from the people of Lebanon," Hague said.

Hague called for "a government committed to restraint and the principle of non-violence, as well as a sovereign and independent future for Lebanon."

Hague earlier in the day expressed his "concerns" about the situation in Lebanon to President Bashar al-Assad.

The UK recognizes a strategic imperative to talk to Syria given its influence across the Middle East, a senior Foreign Office official said ahead of Hague’s visit.

The official said Syria's role in the region "looks set to darken" and said its shaky human rights record would also be discussed.

"We are not starry-eyed about engagement with Syria," he said.