AFP — France and Britain are prepared to arm Syrian rebels even without unanimous EU support, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday.
Paris and London will call for moving up the date of the next European Union meeting on the Syria arms embargo, and could decide to arm the rebels if the 27-member EU does not give unanimous agreement, he said.
France and Britain ask “the Europeans now to lift the embargo so that the resistance fighters have the possibility of defending themselves,” he told France Info radio.
If unanimous EU support for lifting the measure is lacking, the French and British governments will decide to deliver weapons, Fabius said.
France “is a sovereign nation,” he added.
The next EU meeting to study the embargo is planned for the end of May, but Fabius said Paris and London want to have the meeting earlier.
“We must move quickly,” and “and we along with the British will ask for the meeting to be moved up,” he said, not ruling out a gathering before the end of March.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday that Britain would consider ignoring an EU arms ban and supplying weapons to Syrian rebels if it would help topple President Bashar al-Assad.
The EU last month amended its embargo to allow member nations to supply “non-lethal” equipment and training to the opposition but stopped short of lifting the embargo entirely.