France wants more talks with Syria rebels before arming

June 20, 2013 17:39

PARIS - France said on Thursday it needed more talks with Syrian rebels before it could supply them with heavy weapons and said recent gains by Syrian government forces did not mean President Bashar Assad was heading for a "complete victory."

Foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria anti-Assad alliance, which includes the United States, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will meet on Saturday in the Qatari capital Doha to discuss assistance for the Free Syrian Army.

France, which has actively supported the rebels in its former colony, has not yet chosen to arm them since pushing, along with Britain, to have an EU arms embargo lifted. It says it will not make a decision before Aug. 1.

"As far as weapons go, there is no question of delivering weapons in conditions that we aren't sure about and that means we won't deliver weapons so that they are turned against us," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters during a visit to the annual Paris Airshow.

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