Austria determined to keep EU's Syria arms embargo

May 14, 2013 15:00


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VIENNA - Austria will resist British-led efforts to lift or dilute a European Union arms embargo on Syrian rebels, Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Tuesday, arguing that more weapons would only fan the fighting and may snuff out chances for peace talks.

The EU has to decide this month whether to renew or amend its sanctions on Syria, where more than 70,000 people have died in a two-year uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Western countries, including the United States, Britain and France, support the rebels fighting against Assad with non-lethal aid although they have yet to provide weapons. A British proposal backed by France would amend the EU embargo to allow arms for the rebels.

This has been opposed by Austria, which fears for the safety of its 375 soldiers working as peacekeepers in a 1,000-strong UN international force on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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