AL to Arm Syria Rebels, Germany: Delivery of Arms Leads to Weaponry Race
Germany’s foreign minister warned on Thursday that delivering weapons to Syria’s rebels could result in an arms race in the region and stressed the EU would send only “defensive” equipment.
In an interview with the Tagesspiegel daily, Guido Westerwelle said the situation in Syria was “shocking” and said Berlin would do everything it could contribute to a political solution “despite all the difficulties.”
But he cautioned against arming rebels attempting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, after the chief of staff of the rebel “Free Syrian Army” said they could bring down the regime “in a month” with the right weaponry.
“Delivering weapons always involves the danger of an arms race and slipping into a proxy war that could push the whole region into a broader conflict,” Westerwelle warned.
He said Germany and the EU should do “everything responsible” to assist the rebels in their struggle but emphasized that this did not just mean “military questions” but also help in building infrastructure and health systems.
“We are talking about non-lethal equipment, for example defensive objects such as protective vests,” he said.
Germany’s remarks came after the Arab League ministers decided to let member nations arm Syrian rebels.
A final statement issued at the end of a ministerial meeting in Cairo said they had “stressed the right of each state according to its wishes to offer all types of self-defense, including military, to support the resilience of the Syrian people and the so-called Free Syrian Army.”
Qatar has led a push against Damascus at the League, but Wednesday’s decision was not unanimous. Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria refused to endorse the final statement’s sections on Syria.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org