BRUSSELS — Britain and France are free to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad from August, after attempts to renew an European Union arms embargo on Syria failed on Monday.
After a marathon negotiating session in Brussels, EU governments failed to bridge their differences and let a ban on arming the opposition expire, with France and Britain scoring a victory at the expense of EU unity.
Britain and France have made a commitment not to deliver arms to the Syrian opposition “at this stage,” an EU declaration said. But EU officials said the commitment effectively expires on Aug. 1.
The refusal of London and Paris to go along with the arms embargo could have caused the collapse of all EU sanctions against Syria, embarrassing the EU and handing a victory to Assad. EU ministers managed to avert that by agreeing to reinstate all of the restrictions except for…
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