UK parliament wins veto over decision to arm Syrian rebels

By REUTERS
July 11, 2013 19:25

1 minute read.



LONDON - Britain's parliament backed a motion on Thursday requiring Prime Minister David Cameron to give it a veto over any future move to arm Syrian rebels, in a symbolic vote the government said it would heed.

Britain says it has not yet taken any decision to arm rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad, but its role in helping to lift a European Union arms embargo on Syria in May fueled speculation it was planning to do just that.

The lower house of parliament voted by 114-1 to back a motion requiring the government to seek its "explicit prior consent" for any future decision to provide lethal assistance.

Though symbolic, the move is significant as it means Cameron will find it almost impossible not to give parliament a vote on the issue, something government sources say would amount to an effective veto over any decision to supply arms.

Ministers expect the 650-member lower house to vote against sending arms if the issue arises, said one government source.

Many lawmakers in Cameron's Conservative Party say they are worried a decision to arm the moderate opposition in Syria would escalate and widen the conflict and risk weapons fal


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