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EU Syria arms ban to end

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 01:40

May 28 - Foreign ministers fail to agree on extension of weapons embargo, opening the way for some nations to arm rebel forces. Paul Chapman reports.

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Video from a social media website purports to show fighting in the Syrian town of Qusair. It's not been independently verified by Reuters. Hundreds of kilometres away in Brussels European Union foreign ministers tried and failed to reach agreement to extend a Syrian arms ban. That opens the way for Britain and France to go it alone and supply weapons to rebel forces if they wish to do so. They've argued for months that the EU should approve arms deliveries to those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UK FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE SAYING: "Yes, we've had some disagreements today but we have have resolved those agreements, I think, on the right basis for the future." That resolution amounted to the other EU foreign ministers giving way to avoid the collapse of all EU sanctions against Syria. Those who wanted to keep the arms embargo were philosophical. (SOUNDBITE)(English) AUSTRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MICHAEL SPINDELEGGER SAYING: "Everything is better than to have sanctions at all from the first of June." (SOUNDBITE)(English) DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER FRANS TIMMERMANS SAYING: "If you can't have what you would ideally have you have to settle for what you can get." In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met to discuss the possibility of a peace conference. As fighting continues in Syria Damascus has indicated it would take part in such talks. The quarrelling opposition, which has previously demanded guarantees of Assad's departure before any negotiations, has yet to make clear its position.

EU Syria arms ban to end

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 01:40

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