FOREIGN AFFAIRS – RUSSIA'S INTELLIGENCE INTERESTS IN SYRIA – 11 June 2012

Dr Julian Lewis: To what extent do the Government believe that the possession in Syria of major Russian technical intelligence-gathering facilities is a factor in Russia's determination not to see President Assad fall from power?

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): Russia has a range of defence and, one has to assume, intelligence interests in Syria, and they will all be factors in Russia's alliance with the Assad regime and in the way Russia has acted over the past year to protect the regime. It is hard to rank those things, but they will all be factors. However, Russia's important interests in Syria should also now be factors in Russia using all possible leverage to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria, rather than a continuation of the current situation, which could bring about the collapse of the country and, indeed, a very clear danger to all those same Russian interests.]