Paris massacre 'shows need for united and strong' response to war in Syria


The massacre in Paris shows the need for a "united and strong" response to the war in Syria, Philip Hammond said after world powers met in the latest round of talks aiming to end the bloody conflict.

The Foreign Secretary said there was "momentum" behind a process working towards peace in the Middle East state, which has been torn apart by civil war and the rise of Islamic State (IS).

The talks in the Austrian capital Vienna involved Western nations including the US and UK, along with ministers from Russia and regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A blueprint set out by the group sets a January 1 deadline for the start of negotiations between Bashar Assad's government and opposition groups in Syria.

Within six months, the negotiations between the Syrian sides would have to set up a "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian" transitional administration that would draw up a new constitution and then hold free and fair elections within 18 months.

Mr Hammond said: "Our discussions in Vienna have been constructive, and there is now momentum behind a process working towards peace for the people of Syria.

"We have agreed to work towards a ceasefire, and to chart a course that will see the Syrian people take charge of their own destiny. The UK remains opposed to Bashar al-Assad playing any part in the future of Syria.

"The terrible attacks in Paris have shown us that a united and strong response to solving the civil war in Syria is needed urgently, to ensure everyone is committed to combating the barbaric threat that Isil and its followers pose