He also warned Washington that democracy could not be imposed at the barrel of a gun and that war could increase terrorism, particularly if the US failed to work harder for a settlement of the Palestinian conflict.

‘It will be that much more difficult for the EU to co-operate fully and on a large scale — also in the longer-term reconstruction process — if events unfold without proper UN cover and if the [EU] member states remain divided,’ Patten said. Patten is a Conservative former cabinet minister and last governor of Hong Kong before it returned to China.