News / Middle East

EU Foreign Ministers Split on Arms to Syria

EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton addressing media prior to foreign ministers meeting, Brussels, Belgium, March 11, 2013.
EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton addressing media prior to foreign ministers meeting, Brussels, Belgium, March 11, 2013.
VOA News
The European Union has split over whether to arm Syrian rebels, with international special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi calling again for a political solution to end two years of bloodshed that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
 
Brahimi called a military solution "out of the question" Monday after meeting the EU's 27 foreign ministers in Brussels. France's top diplomat, Laurent Fabius, disagreed.
 
"It seems obvious to me that the question of lifting the arms embargo is more and more on the table because we have an obvious lack of balance between the Assad regime, which has weapons coming from Iran, Russia — powerful weapons — and the [rebel] National Coalition, which doesn't have the same weapons," Fabius said.
 
The ministers were sharply divided, with Britain and Italy joining France in supporting eventual military aid for the opposition while Germany, Sweden and others see that as moving in the wrong direction.
 
Sweden's Carl Bildt warned that a military solution carries the risk of "the devastation of the region."
 
On her way into the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she supports a political solution.
 
"We need to stop this killing, we need to stop the violence that's happening in Syria and to find a way in which the opposition can really move forward on a political solution," she said.
 
Ashton reiterated calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying that the "devastating impact of his policies is obvious for all to see."
 
The Syrian National Coalition said it was postponing a meeting to form a provisional government; coalition spokesman Walid al-Bunni told VOA that members are split over whether to choose a new government now or wait and see if U.N. negotiations can offer a political solution.
 
He said the election to choose a prime minister will now be held no later than March 20. The meeting was due to be held on March 12 after being postponed once already.
 
Also Monday, investigators released the latest report on Syria to the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying the situation is "deteriorating rapidly," and that both government troops and rebels have committed war crimes.
 
The report said abuses by rebels were not on the same scale as those by government troops, but that both sides were found to have used child fighters.
 
The chairman of the four-member investigative panel, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said the U.N.-appointed body is collecting evidence on 20 massacres in Syria.
 
Syria's state-run news agency reported Monday that at least three civilians were killed and 28 others injured when mortar shells slammed into a building in southern Damascus. The report blamed the shelling on "terrorists," a term the government frequently uses to describe rebel fighters.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Indigenous Khmerkrom from: Preynokor
March 12, 2013 1:04 AM
At least the opposition should have the modern weapons to protect themselves and the people as well as to carry on their fight till liberation. The rogue regimes of Russia and Iran secretly supplied deadly weapons to Assad Murderer regime but when the West tries to help the opposition something then the ignorants from Russia, China, and Iran bark against the West very unjustifiably.


by: Anonymous
March 11, 2013 12:16 PM
here we go again... with Ashton, the English Chinless Wonder...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid