France says Syria balance of power must be changed

March 12, 2013 20:25
1 minute read.

PARIS - France hinted on Tuesday that it would push to get a European Union arms embargo on Syria lifted, saying the balance of power in the country had to change so Syrian President Bashar Assad understood he could not win by military force.

"France is thinking - although it is a European decision - of going further in lifting the embargo," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a parliamentary committee.Just days after EU governments agreed a hard-fought compromise on a limited easing of the arms embargo to help Assad's opponents, Fabius said there would be steps taken to go further. He did not give more details.

"You will ask me is that not contradictory with finding a political solution, but we don't think so," he said.

"If we want President Bashar al Assad to shift then he must be made to understand that he cannot win through military force. There is a new balance of power that has to be created."

Fabius, who has been one of Assad's harshest critics, said that while some EU nations did not back lifting the arms embargo, Paris felt it was the "right decision" to take.

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