Thursday Mar 21, 201302:03 PM GMT
Paris pushing ahead with plans to arm Syria militants
Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:27PM
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France is pushing ahead with its plans to arm the foreign-backed militants in Syria, trying to assure that the mistakes made in the Libya war will not be repeated.


In an address to the country’s parliament on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers that a political solution is unlikely to work in Syria unless the balance of power changed in the violence-hit country.

Fabius accused the Syrian government of refusing to stand down because its control over the country’s airspace enables it to “indiscriminately” pound opposition targets.

His remarks come shortly after President Francois Hollande said his country and Britain were pushing the European Union to lift its arms embargo on arms exports to Syria to pave the way for arming the mililtants.

Fabius earlier suggested that Paris and London would push ahead with their efforts to arm the Syria militants by the end of May or earlier if possible - even without an agreement with other EU nations.

Some international diplomats, however, warn that more weapons are the last thing that the Arab-nation needs at a time of violence and bloodshed.

On Wednesday, the French minister tried to allay the concerns, saying that weapons would not be allowed to spread across the region as they were in Libya after the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"Obviously, we have to be sure from those who will receive weapons that they will not be used against us," he told lawmakers in Paris.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the insurgents are foreign nationals. It blames the West and its regional allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey for supporting the armed groups.

Several international human rights organizations have accused the militants fighting the Syrian government of committing war crimes.

MRS/MA
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