EU remains divided over Arms Embargo Easing for Syria

On Monday, the nations of the European Union remain divided on whether an easing of arms sanctions against Syria, to allow shipments of weapons to rebels who are fighting against the President Bashar al-Assad regime.

The most outspoken country that is a proponent of relaxing arms restrictions is Britain, but they face opposition from some nations that feel additional weapons would succeed in increasing the number killed and tarnish the reputation of the EU as a broker of peace.

The foreign minister of Austria, whose nation opposes deliveries of arms to the rebel coalition, said Monday that if no agreement were reached then there would be a collapse of the arms embargo.

The foreign minister of Germany said the positions of the different countries remained far apart. Guido Westervelle said it was not certain if the foreign minister of the EU would reach a consensus agreement over the issue.

President Assad has continued to use firepower against the undermanned lightly armed factions of rebels. Over 70,000 people in Syria have died since the March 2011 uprising started against the regime.

Damascus has entered into an agreement in principle to take part in next month’s Geneva peace talks. Russia and the United States hope the two sides will come together for a direct set of talks, but no date, agenda or list of those participating has been released.

Other members of the union said that by giving arms to the rebel groups it would create a more level playing field and force the regime to enter a settlement.

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