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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs