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France to Push for Arming Syrian Opposition
November 16, 2012

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France will push for supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made the announcement ahead of high-level talks between French President Francois Hollande and Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, head of the newly formed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The two leaders will meet in Paris on Saturday, following by a day a London meeting between Syrian opposition leaders and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Turkey has officially recognized the opposition as well, the Turkish Foreign Minister said, urging other neighboring countries to do the same. Syrian government forces continue to fire on opposition forces very near the Syria-Turkey border. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the fighting by crossing the border into Turkey.

France on Wednesday became the first Western country to officially recognize the new Syrian opposition group but initially stopped short of discussing military cooperation. Fabius' comments, made to a French radio station, included references to ongoing discussions within United Nations circles about how best to resolve the 20-month conflict. Among the topics up for discussion at a special meeting chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron are expected to be a no-fly zone over Syria, a shipment of anti-aircraft weapons to the Syrian opposition, and an increase in the number of countries recognizing the opposition as a legitimate successor to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the new U.N. special envoy on Syria, is involved in those discussions.







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