Britain changes tone on arming Syria militants

Britain changes tone on arming Syria militants
Sat Jun 22, 2013 19:28:03

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says his government has no decision to provide arms to militants in Syria stressing that only a “political solution” would settle the crisis.

"On the much debated question of whether we should give lethal aid of any kind to the Syrian opposition, the position remains the same -- we have taken no decision to do that," he told reporters ahead of a meeting of the so-called "Friends of Syria" conference in the Qatari capital Doha.

Any such decision would have to be debated in parliament, he added.

He claimed that Britain's main goals remain to "deliver more humanitarian aid" and "promote a political solution."

"At the end, there is only a political solution for the conflict. We want to see a successful conference in Geneva," he said, referring to a joint US and Russian proposal for a peace conference in the Swiss city.

Hague’s comments reflect a different tone on the Syria crisis, as the British government has been one of the main players in discussions on providing more arms to insurgents in Syria.

Along with France, Britain initiated controversial attempts in the European Union to lift an arms embargo from the militants and not the Syrian government.

Even in March, before lifting the ban, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that France and the UK would consider arming militants even if it meant breaking an EU ban.

The new stance of the British government is also contrary to that of US which called on all participants in the same conference to step up efforts and send more arms to Syria so that the militants compensate their recent losses against the Syrian army.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told the attendants on Saturday that "The United States and other countries here -- in their various ways, each choosing its own approach -- will increase the scope and scale of assistance to the political and military opposition."

Syria crisis started as pro-reform protests but with interventions from the United States and its regional allies it soon turned to a massive insurgency which took in numerous terrorist groups from all over Europe and Middle East to wage one of the bloodiest wars the region has ever experienced.

The war, which many fear is turning to a “war of hatred”, has already taken more than 90,000 lives.

string(2221) "[{"id":"1455116","sort":"3039911","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/03/14/alalam_634988837007831538_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria raps France, UK for arming militants"} ,{"id":"1455421","sort":"3039912","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/03/15/alalam_634989652410266294_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Certain EU leaders oppose arming Syria terrorists"} ,{"id":"1478585","sort":"3039913","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/05/28/alalam_635053499783204303_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Hague: UK ready to arm Syria rebels alone"} ,{"id":"1481046","sort":"3039914","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/04/alalam_635059426267585397_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"‘Syria war to fail without UK covert arms’"} ,{"id":"1482979","sort":"3039915","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/10/alalam_635064630980665856_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"UK parliament will vote on arming Syria militants"} ,{"id":"1485400","sort":"3039916","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/17/alalam_635070928127823007_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Assad: Europe to pay high price for arming rebels"} ,{"id":"1485420","sort":"3039917","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/17/alalam_635070965139333788_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi sending European arms to Syria: Report"} ,{"id":"1485614","sort":"3039918","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/18/alalam_635071513151512313_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"'Qatar Red Crescent sneaks arms into Syria'"} ,{"id":"1485845","sort":"3039919","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/18/alalam_635071847895076300_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Russia warns US, EU on arming Syria militants"} ,{"id":"1486104","sort":"3039920","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/19/alalam_635072712530186530_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Anti-Syria countries meet to discuss arming rebels"} ,{"id":"1486362","sort":"3039921","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/20/alalam_635073480651746101_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria terrorists get heavy arms from Saudi Arabia"} ,{"id":"1486674","sort":"3039922","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/21/alalam_635074295041194557_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria rebels receive new arms to scale the war up"} ,{"id":"1486945","sort":"3039923","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/22/alalam_635075212583392512_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Kerry calls for continuing war in Syria"} ]"