TEHRAN, YJC. -- The UK has offered EU diplomats a choice between two options of amending the arms embargo on Syria in order to legally unleash a stream of lethal aid to the opposition. The draft proposal emerged as Britain and the US seek Russia’s political support.
The UK has been on a crusade to start arming the Syrian opposition and has lobbied hard in Brussels to amend the arms embargo placed on Damascus.
In a leaked six-page long draft proposal circulated to EU diplomats over the past week, London is suggesting two options for amending current sanctions to give weapons to the Syrian National Coalition.
The paper says the situation in Syria is "deteriorating sharply” and the EU must apply more pressure on the Assad government to negotiate.
The first option pushes for full exemption of the main opposition bloc from the EU arms embargo, while the second proposal is to amend the language of the sanctions to remove the word "non-lethal” thus opening the gate for weapons to flow.
Such a move would, the paper says, strengthen the opposition and "head off any reliance by the moderate Syrian opposition on Islamist-backed armed groups.”
The UK also argues that such an approach would place the EU in a better position to fight potential use of chemical weapons.
"Crucially, it will ensure we can respond flexibly to a major escalation in the conflict, such as chemical weapon attacks,” the paper added.
Another idea is to ease financial transactions by amending bank sanctions to rebel-held territory.