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article imageEU foreign policy chief urges caution on Syria

By Paul Iddon     Mar 16, 2013 in Politics
The foreign policy chief of the European Union has urged France and the United Kingdom to urge caution when it comes to their desire to lift the EU implemented arms embargo on Syria in order to aid the opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The United Kingdom and France wish to annul the EU arms embargo in order to assist the ragtag rebel opposition to the Baathist rule of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. However the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has insisted that the union as a whole needs to think "very carefully" about what France and Britain want to do. Insisting that such an action may prove detrimental to the already bleak prospects of negotiations.
She insisted that the EU should call upon the United Nations envoy, Kofi Annan's successor, Lakhdar Brahimi along with the head of the Syrian National Coalition, an oppositional representative body, and ask them what effects they believe the lifting of the EU arms embargo would have on the situation there.
Germany is one of the leading, and the most influential EU power, to oppose the move on behalf of France and Britain to lift the arms embargo. It argues EU intervention should be purely humanitarian and not one of directly arming the opposition.
Many other opponents to the British and French call for action say it could in turn lead to Assad's allies, hence Russia and Iran, to in turn pour more weapons into Syria for the regime and its various paramilitary group. These opponents also express fears that Islamists could end up getting hold of the weapons which the EU would pour into Syria should the embargo be lifted. (Independent, March 15 2013)
Ashton expressed such fears when she postulated the following, "Would putting weapons into the field make it more or less likely that others will do the same? What would be the response of Assad based on what we know about his response so far? Would it stop people being killed or would it kill people faster?" (Reuters, March 16 2013)
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