France raised the prospect on Thursday of providing Syria’s rebels with weapons as Turkey joined it and the Gulf Arab states in recognizing the newly unified opposition.
France said it would discuss its proposal to ease the European Union arms embargo on both sides in the 20-month-conflict with its partners in the 27-nation bloc but Russia said any such move would be a violation of international law.
In Paris, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he would raise the idea of excluding weapons for the rebels from the current blanket EU embargo.
“For the moment, there is an embargo, so there are no arms being delivered from the European side. The issue… will no doubt be raised for arms,” Fabius he told RTL radio.
“The issue will be raised because the (opposition) coalition has asked us to do so,” he said, adding: “This is something that we can only do in coordination with the Europeans.”
According to agencies, French President Francois Hollande is to hold talks on Saturday with the head of the new opposition so-called National Coalition, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, his office said.
In Moscow, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said “promises are being made from a number of capitals of massive supplies of modern weapons.”
“Outside help to the opposition waging an armed battle against a legitimate government is a gross violation of fundamental norms of international law,” he stressed.
Moreover, Lukashevich added that the latest developments, including what rebel refusal to dialogue, were “in direct contravention” of the so-called Geneva peace plan championed by former UN Syria envoy Kofi Annan.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the priority must be to end the bloodshed rather than form an opposition bloc that refuses to negotiate.
“It is essential that an end to bloodshed in Syria is reached,” Lavrov said in Riyadh after meeting Gulf Arab leaders, adding that key to that was the Geneva plan.
Source: News agencies, Edited by Moqawama