PARIS Nov 15 France will discuss supplying arms
to Syrian opposition forces with its European partners in the
coming weeks now that an opposition coalition has been
established, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.
France is wary of militarising the 20-month-old conflict,
but is also wary of leaving areas under opposition control
unprotected against bomb attacks, Fabius told RTL radio.
"At the moment there is an embargo on arms, so no weapons
are being delivered from Europe. The question will undoubtedly
be raised for defensive arms but it's something we can only do
in coordination with the rest of Europe," Fabius said.
He said Paris was talking to Moscow and United Nations
special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi over a solution, as it waited for
the Syrian coalition to form a provisional government in the
weeks ahead that could open the door to supplying arms.
"We want to avoid going towards militarisation. On the other
hand we must prevent liberated zones from being destroyed. We
must find a fair balance," Fabius said.
Paris on Tuesday became the first European capital to
recognise the coalition as sole representative of the Syrian
people and said it would look at arming rebels battling
President Bashar al-Assad's forces once a provisional government
France has thus far ruled out sending weapons, concerned
they could get into the hands of radical Islamists, but the
coalition is urging European states to allow it access to arms.
President Francois Hollande will meet George Sabra, the new
leader of the Syrian National Council - now a minority player in
the wider coalition - in Paris on Saturday, Fabius said.