British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday the United Kingdom has no intention of allowing access to funds in the UK belonging to Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak and his family, adding that he looks forward to the upcoming parliamentary elections in Egypt.
“[The] freezing of assets has been done in line with Egyptian requests,” Hague said in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, adding that “there is no lack of willingness from the part of the British government to deal with this but it has to be done in a way that is legally correct.”
Reports emerged earlier this month that the UK government was failing in its commitment to freeze assets of those belonging to Mubarak’s regime, ousted from power last year following a mass uprising in the country.
During the interview, Hague repeatedly said his country welcomes the transition to democracy in Egypt, adding that Britain does not wish to interfere.
“With their [Egypt’s] now legitimately and elected president in due course parliament to help the economic links to thrive and to help the people of Egypt to achieve their aspirations but we are not going to comment on their political campaigns or amendments to their constitutional drafts,” Hague said.
He also congratulated President Mursi after his election and said he “look[s] forward to see the writing of the new constitution for the parliamentary elections.”
Hague expressed Britain’s desire to welcome Egypt’s president, saying: “I delivered a letter to the president today from Prime Minister Cameron of the UK inviting him to Britain. He said he would like to come. So we look forward to that visit.”
Egypt’s president has also received an invitation from the United Nations.
The British foreign secretary said that Mursi’s recent visits to China and Iran did not raise suspicions that Egypt’s Foreign Policy is biased towards the East.
“I'm sure he [Mursi] will be heading West as well; there is no doubt that,” said Hague.
“[Mursi] gave a strong message when he was in Tehran which we respect and support, about the situation in Syria,” and “it seems clear from what he is doing in setting out an independent foreign policy for Egypt and that is something of course that we respect," he added.
However, Hague criticized Iran’s recently publicized participation in a quartet conference, consisting of Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, discussing the crisis in Syria.
“Iran is part of the problem, actively supporting the Assad regime in murdering the people of Syria,” Hague said.
He added that the solution to the crisis will begin with the departure of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and a transitional government “which could include the members of the current government.”
According to Hague, the situation in Syria is “much harder” than that of the Libyan conflict.
“Our resolutions have been vetoed by Russia and China,” he said, referring the veto prohibiting foreign military intervention in the crisis-torn country.
As a result, the British official said Syria is a "more difficult area to intervene [in] because of the geography and history being so close to Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey."
Hague said Britain is not supplying weapons to Syria however; the country is the second-largest donor of humanitarian aid to Syria.
Asked about the Iran’s nuclear program and his position on this issue, Hague said that sanctions and talks are yet to bring about a solution.
In response to questions about the Palestinian cause, Hague said that Britain will continue to work on implementing a two-state solution.