Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Britain criticised over EU split as Syria arms ban is lifted

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary said the EU was denying rebels the right to defend themselves when they were "having every weapon that's ever been devised dropped on them".

A number of states led by Austria continued to oppose lifting the embargo, but Britain insisted it should be allowed to expire on Friday.

There had been a suggestion that all EU sanctions would be allowed to lapse, with Britain vetoing a new package if it did not get its way on the embargo. In the event, following 14 hours of talks European nations agreed to renew travel and financial sanctions against the regime for another year while accepting that on arms each country would now set its own policy.

Mr Hague said: "This decision gives us the flexibility in the future to respond to a worsening situation or the refusal of the Assad regime to negotiate."