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EU foreign ministers meet Syrian opposition

brussels bureau

EU foreign ministers meet Syrian opposition


EU foreign ministers have held talks with the newly-elected head of Syria’s opposition coalition.

The 27-member bloc recognises the group as the legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, a former Damascus imam, told reporters he doesn’t believe the Assad regime will deploy his supply of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

“They use this to scare the population but they won’t use them,” he said.

Only Paris and London have given the group full recognition.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague underlined what the EU expects from the opposition.

“I’ve urged (Al-Khatib) once again to make very clear the commitment of the national coalition to all things the assad-regime is not committed to. To human rights, to international humanitarian law, to democracy and freedom for the people of Syria,” Hague told reporters in Brussels.

Full recognition could allow the EU to arm rebel forces seeking to oust President Assad.

The bloc has an arms embargo on all Syrian parties, which expires on March 1st.

The issue will be raised at a Friends of Syria conference in Marrakesh on Wednesday.

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