UK calls for frequent reviews of EU's Syria arms embargo
BRUSSELS - Britain is pushing the European Union to hold frequent reviews of its arms embargo on Syria to make it easier in the future to arm rebels fighting to depose President Bashar Assad, diplomats said on Tuesday.
The proposal, which is said to have been driven by Prime Minister David Cameron, marks a hardening of Britain's position and shows how the formation of a united Syrian opposition has galvanized overseas support for the rebels.
EU sanctions on Syria include visa bans and asset freezes on individuals and businesses connected to Assad's government, a ban on oil imports from Syria, and an embargo on the supply of arms to the country, imposed to prevent the flow of weapons to Assad's forces.
Under EU rules, the Syria sanctions package has to be extended for a year by Dec. 1. Britain, however, has proposed to review the arms embargo segment of the restrictions every three months and has received French backing.
EU diplomats debated the proposal on Tuesday and were expected to continue discussion on Wednesday.