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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid