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Saudi FM calls on EU to supply arms to Syrian rebels - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GCC and EU foreign ministers, including, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal at the 23rd EU-GCC Council and Ministerial Meeting in Manama, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

GCC and EU foreign ministers, including, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal at the 23rd EU-GCC Council and Ministerial Meeting in Manama, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said on Sunday that his country wanted the EU to immediately start implementing its decision to lift the ban on arming the opposition in Syria, due to “serious recent developments” in the country.

He also called for an international resolution to ban the arming of the Syrian government, and to force all foreign fighters to leave the country.

He said the Syrian arena had seen many developments, among which “the participation of foreign forces, such as Hezbollah militias and others supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and with unlimited supply of Russian arms.”

The Saudi foreign minister was speaking at the 23rd GCC-EU Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting in Manama on Sunday. He said “we meet here today while Syrian towns and villages are besieged and destroyed by heavy artillery, aircraft and internationally banned weapons, with no conscience, principle or morality.”

He added that “it is astonishing that we still hear some outsiders criticizing both sides, and by doing so, equating between the victim and the executioner, in the acts of violence and the violation of human rights that go on in Syria every day.”

Al-Faisal added that the Syrian resistance was “no longer only fighting a regime which has lost its legitimacy, but was now involved in a bitter war against a foreign occupier of their country, which emphasizes the legitimacy of the resistance according to UN Charter, which guarantees the legitimate right to self-defense, and the right to expel foreign occupiers.”

He stressed the importance of international intervention to end the involvement of Hezbollah and Iran in the fighting in Syria.

He said: “While Saudi Arabia is satisfied with the position of the US, in working to redress the imbalance of power and supporting the legitimacy of the coalition, it also points to the EU’s decision to lift the ban on arming Syrian rebels, and calls on the EU to immediately start implementing the decision, especially in light of recent developments in Syria.”

Prince Saud concluded by saying “the Syrian National Coalition is now the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and was ready to form a transitional ruling body which enjoys full powers, with the exclusion of the regime and its supporters.”