France says it may provide armed groups in Syria with communications equipment to help overthrow the government, a blow to a fragile UN plan to end the country’s deadly unrest.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Friday reiterated his country’s support for Arab League-UN special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan, but said Paris was also considering other options.
"There is Annan's effort, but we are also considering - and the Americans have done this - not giving weapons but providing communications equipment," Fabius stated.
Fabius suggested that the move could help the anti-government groups in Syria given difficulties with implementing Annan's plan.
The remarks follow France’s proposal earlier this week to make Annan's peace plan obligatory by invoking the UN's "Chapter 7" provision, which allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention.
The proposal met strong opposition from Russia and China which have already vetoed two Security Council resolutions against Syria.
Fabius also said there were discussions with Russia about a "Yemen-style" transition of power in Syria.
''It's not true that we are discussing Syria's fate after Bashar Assad. We aren't dealing with a regime change either through approving unilateral actions at the United Nations Security Council, nor through taking part in some political conspiracies,'' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following talks with his Iraqi counterpart in Moscow on Friday.