UK & World News
Syrian Arms Embargo: France Wants Ban Lifted
French president Francois Hollande has called on Europe to lift a Syrian arms embargo to help rebels fighting Bashar al Assad's regime.
The ban, which was extended on February 28 for three months, prevents weapons being supplied to the opposition.
Ahead of a two-day EU summit, President Hollande said: "We are ready to support the rebellion, so we are ready to go this far. We must take our responsibilities.
"We cannot allow people to be massacred by a regime that for now does not want a political transition."
Earlier this month Foreign Secretary William Hague said British support for the opposition had entered a "new phase", allowing rebels to receive new equipment including armoured vehicles and protective clothing.
President Hollande met Prime Minister David Cameron for talks on Syria before the EU summit, which begins on Friday.
France and Britain are expected to press for new EU talks on the embargo, although the issue is not on the agenda for the Brussels summit.
Foreign ministers have agreed to ease the embargo to allow any EU country to provide non-lethal aid or training to opposition fighters.
AFP said President Hollande claimed countries including Russia were providing arms to President Assad's regime.
He said France "must convince its European partners" to tip the balance by ending the embargo.
what do you think?
Why are the politicians backing the jihadists?
Here we go again. Why dont our politicians just butt out. The Arabs have a long history of beating the hell out of each other. Let them sort it. We have people on the point of starvation in this country, Cameroon says we are broke and yet hes doing a Blair and causing another few million Arabs to hate the Brits.
Lucky the americans didnt take your stance in 1940's otherwise us brits would be speaking german right now.
The Yanks didn't exactly rush to our aid in WW2, they waited two years until the tide had turned against the Germans.