* France welcomes creation of Syrian military council
* Not ready to arm rebels, suspicions on rebel group a
MARRAKECH, Morocco Dec 12 France is not yet
ready to supply weapons to Syrian insurgents fighting to oust
President Bashar al-Assad despite the setting up of a new rebel
military council, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on
"For now we have decided not to move on this," Fabius told
reporters before a meeting of 130 "Friends of Syria" nations in
Morocco. "We shall see in the coming months."
World powers excluding Russia and China have recognised
Syria's new opposition coalition as the legitimate
representative of the Syrian people, according to a draft
declaration. But feelings about arming the rebels are mixed.
Many Western powers are reticent about sending weapons
because they believe that some rebel groups, notably the
al-Nusra Front, have links to al Qaeda and will seek to impose
Islamic law if they succeed in toppling Assad.
Fabius, whose government was the first to recognise the
Syrian opposition, welcomed the creation of a military council
as helping to coordinate rebel factions' military operations.
But suspicions regarding al-Nusra Front, branded a terrorist
organisation by the United States, were a "problem" which meant
that France and Britain had no intention of reviewing a
three-month extension of an arms embargo on Syria, he said.
"For now we are not moving)", he said. "There is no question
of putting jihadis into this mechanism and this will be
discussed more and more now that Nusra has been added to the
list," he said.
Suspicions regarding al Qaeda links to some rebel groups had
prompted French intelligence services to investigate how the
groups were being financed, Fabius said.
"The main difficulty is to embolden the resistance and
acclerate Assad's fall without destroying existing institutions.
We don't want to go down the Iraq path," he said.