10 Feb 2011

Arab unrest putting Middle East peace at rist - Hague

9:56 am on 10 February 2011

Britain's Foreign Secretary says the Middle East peace process is at risk of collapsing because of the uprising sweeping across the Arab world.

William Hague, who is on an emergency tour of the region, has called on Israel to tone down its rhetoric as the tension in Egypt intensifies.

Speaking to The Times of London Mr Hague said he fears the peace process will be put on the back burner because of developments in the Arab world.

He also blames Israel for escalating tensions, pointing to statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been calling on his country to prepare for any outcome.

Mr Hague says this is not the time for beligerent language, but the time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process.

He wants the European Union to exert more influence in the region but sceptics say that is just wishful thinking.