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12 April 2024

EU rejects arming rebels

British Foreign Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague arrives before a Foreign Affairs Council at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. European foreign ministers discuss renewing sanctions on Syria and the possibly of lifting an arms embargo. Talks will also focus on the Mali crisis and Zimbabwe. (AFP)


European Union foreign ministers have announced that they are keeping current sanctions against Syria in place for three months, rejecting any attempt to ease the arms embargo so military aid could be funneled to rebels fighting President Bashar Assad.

An EU official said before Monday's meeting in Brussels that Britain wanted to change the embargo. He requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss closed-door deliberations.

Ahead of the meeting, various foreign ministers said shipping more arms into Syria would be a bad idea. The EU maintains a number of sanctions on Syria, including the arms embargo, a ban on importing Syrian oil, and measures against various individuals and companies.

The U.N. says nearly 70,000 people have been killed since the revolt against Assad began in March 2011.