European Union lifts arms embargo on Syrian opposition
As markets are drawn downwards by one economic seizure after the next, the issue of fees in a low-return environment has become extremely contentious. HIGH-LEVEL TALKS: British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrives at an European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday. THE European Union (EU) decided on Monday to lift its arms embargo on the Syrian opposition, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, announced after hours of fraught negotiations, while ministers agreed not to supply weapons before August.
All other restrictive measures against Syria — which include financing restrictions, travel bans and asset freezes — will be extended for a year, after fears that the entire sanctions regime could lapse over a failure to agree on the arms issue. "Earlier today we were risking not having any sanctions by the end of the day.
So, you know, I am counting my blessings," said Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. "The fact that the package of sanctions is being continued is an important signal by Europe against violence," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, praising their ability to reach consensus after "long and very difficult negotiations".
EU states would "proceed in their national policies" regarding the decision to supply the Syrian National Coalition with military equipment or "equipment that might be used for internal repression" and aimed at protecting civilians, the ministers agreed in a statement. However, they "will not proceed at this stage with the delivery of the equipment", it stated, adding that the decision would be reviewed by August 1.
The intervening time will allow for a peace-seeking conference to take place in Geneva, in an initiative brokered by Russia and the US in a desperate attempt to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Monday in Paris to discuss the Geneva talks, particularly which parties would participate, they said following the meeting.
"We both want to make this conference happen," Mr Kerry said, noting Washington and Moscow would continue preparations to ensure "this conference could best be prepared for the possibility of success, not failure". Russia said on Tuesday that the lifting of the arms embargo on Syria would undermine the chances for the peace conference that Russia and the US were trying to organise.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Business Day