Britain has formally started talking to Syrian opposition leaders who are fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, it has been reported.
According to the Independent, Frances Guy, the UK's former ambassador to Lebanon, met Syrian opposition leaders in exile in Paris on Friday. The move is widely seen as part of mounting international pressure on the Syrian regime against its violent crackdown on the anti-government uprising in the country.
Foreign Secretary William Hague too will be holding talks with Syrian opposition leaders in London next week. Other senior officials in the government are also meeting the rebel leaders to discuss the current situation in the Arab nation.
The Syrian National Council and the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change are among the groups, whose leaders are involved in the talks against the eight-month-old uprising against the Assad rule, the Independent has said.
The UK and other western powers like France are already in contact with the rebel leaders for the last three months informally. The demand for a tougher UN sanction on Syria by the western powers has been so far resisted by Russia and China in the Security Council. However, the European Union has already imposed sanctions on Syria.
"It is not normal that the Security Council has not made any decision so far. I hope those blocking any resolution will be aware of the reality of the situation," said Alain Juppe, French Foreign Minister, about the position of Russia and China opposing the UN sanctions.
The talks with Syrian opposition leaders are believed to increase their prospects of recognition as the representatives of the country. But the western leaders rule out any parallel between Syria and Libya and maintain that the talks with the Syrian opposition leaders are not in the way of recognising them as the future government of the country.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the rising international pressure, Syria has agreed in principle to the Arab League to allow international observers in the country to oversee the peace plan. According to UN estimates, at least 3,500 people have been killed since the anti-regime uprising started in March.