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EU's Ashton says Syrian arms embargo to be considered again before Aug 1

May 28, 2013, 4:39 UTC+3

Тhe UK does not have the plans to start the supplies immediately

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BRUSSELS, May 28 (Itar-Tass) -- European Union will consider the problem of an arms supplies embargo against Syria before August 1, the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton said Tuesday.

Following a discussion that lasted 14 hours Monday, the foreign ministers of the member-states failed to agree on making changes to the current European embargo on supplies of armaments to the much-troubled Arab country. This means they gave silent consent to a lifting of the embargo as of June 1.

Along with this, the member-states said they had reached political consent on refraining from the supplies of military hardware to Syria for the time being.

The crux of the matter is that there will be no formal barriers to military supplies to Syria's irreconcilable opposition after the embargo ceases to exist. From the legal standpoint, each of the 27 member-states will be able to ponder the possibility of furnishing the rebels with arms on its own after June 1.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the main adept of revoking of the ban on arms supplies, said in the meantime that the UK does not have the plans to start the supplies immediately.

"This does not mean that we have made any decision as the United Kingdom to send arms to the National Coalition, but we now have the flexibility to respond in the future if the situation continues to deteriorate and if the Assad regime refuses to negotiate," the British media quoted him as saying.

"Tonight EU nations agreed to bring the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition to an end," Hague said. "This was the outcome that the United Kingdom wanted."

"It was a difficult decision for some countries, but it was necessary and right to reinforce international efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria," he said.

Hague also mentioned what he called "a common framework for those member states who, in the future, may decide to supply military equipment to the Syrian National Coalition."

This framework supposedly "would ensure that any such equipment would only be supplied to the National Coalition, for the protection of civilians."

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