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Syria (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - July 23, 2013)

Q : Was the question of possible arms shipments to the Syrian opposition discussed at yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels yesterday?

A : With respect to the situation in Syria, Foreign Minister Fabius underscored two major points in Brussels yesterday:

- First, he evoked the humanitarian tragedy that has left more than 100,000 dead in Syria and resulted in a million refugees and displaced persons. Increasing international aid at both the European and international levels is therefore imperative. The foreign minister stressed the importance of adopting a UN Security Council resolution on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

- Mr. Fabius also stressed the need for a political solution, i.e., organizing a Geneva 2 conference. That presumes rebalancing the situation on the ground. France supports the Syrian National Coalition, whose new president will be welcomed tomorrow in Paris by President Hollande

To this end, we and our partners decided at the June 22nd meeting in Doha to provide collective, coordinated and complementary aid. France is helping the Syrian National Coalition but is not providing lethal weapons, believing that the guarantees are not sufficient. We are supplying non-lethal materiel to bolster the armed opposition’s capabilities, such as secure means of observation and communication. We are also providing technical assistance to optimize the means the opposition already has.



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