William Hague has denounced Syrian President Bashar Assad's speech claiming he is ready with a new peace initiative, as "beyond hypocritical".

The Foreign Secretary attacked the leader's rare television address as full of "empty promises" that would "fool no-one".

In his first speech to the nation since June, President Assad said the peace plan includes a national reconciliation conference and a new constitution but claimed it could only get under way after Western nations stopped funding and arming rebel groups.

william hague foreign

Hague was denouncing Assad's first speech since November

Assad said: "We never rejected a political solution... but with whom should we talk? With those who have extremist ideology who only understand the language of terrorism?"

"Or should we with negotiate puppets whom the West brought... We negotiate with the master not with the slave."

More than 60,000 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.


William Hague
beyond hypocritical. Deaths, violence and oppression engulfing are his own making, empty promises of reform fool no one

Prime Minister David Cameron earlier reiterated his calls for the Syrian leader to go.

"My message to Assad is go," he told BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show. "He has the most phenomenal amount of blood on his hands."