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Syria: arms (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - March 14, 2013)

P : Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that lifting the embargo is the only solution to the Syrian crisis. Do you think that the military solution has become inevitable and that the political negotiations have again failed?

Which type of weapons are France and the United Kingdom demanding that the European arms embargo be lifted on? Are there reliable troops ready to receive these arms?

Will Paris and London deliver these arms to the Syrian rebels, even without the EU’s agreement? Or is this a hope expressed by the minister of foreign affairs to the Europeans?

A : The minister expressed his views this morning. In particular, he pointed out – and I quote – that “our position, which is also shared by the British, involves asking the Europeans to lift the embargo so that the resistance fighters can defend themselves.

From the outset, France has led the way in supporting the Syrian resistance. We’re doing so at the humanitarian level. We’re doing so on a political level by supporting the opposition but the toll is absolutely appalling. More than 70,000 people have died, there are well over a million refugees, and the region itself is being torn apart. This current imbalance is unacceptable, with, on one side, Iran and Russia, which are supplying arms to Bashar al-Assad, and, on the other side, the resistance fighters who are unable to defend themselves.

That doesn’t mean in any way that we’re abandoning the political solution but Bashar al-Assad doesn’t want to budge because he has a sense of permanent superiority as a result of the weapons. Indeed, lifting the embargo is one of the only ways left to change things politically.


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