EU lifts arms embargo against Syria to aid rebels

Brussels, May 28 (IANS) The European Union (EU) decided to lift arms embargo on Syria to support the opposition forces in the country, said an EU statement following its Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

According to the statement, at the beginning of August, the EU Foreign Affairs Council will adopt for a period of 12 months restrictive measures which include “export and import restrictions with the exception of arms and related material and equipment which might be used for internal repression”.

To avoid the arms or equipment which might be used for internal repression flowing to the Bashar al-Asad regime, the EU insisted that the sale, supply, transfer or export of military equipment “will be for the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and intended for the protection of civilians”, reported Xinhua.

“Member States shall require adequate safeguards against misuse of authorizations granted, in particular relevant information concerning the end-user and final destination of the delivery,” said the statement Monday.

The EU member states were also requested to assess the export license applications on a case-by-case basis, taking full account of the EU common criteria in governing control of exports of military technology and equipment.

Except the arms embargo, all financial sanctions against Syria including restrictions on financing of certain enterprises, infrastructure projects and freezing of funds and economic resources were to be extended, said the statement.

Following the violent repression of anti-government protests in Syria from mid-March 2011, the EU took a number of measures including arms embargo, financial sanctions and restrictive measures on oil trade which was lifted last month.

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