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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No Arms Supplies to Syria Opposition, France Says

RIA Novosti

15:38 19/04/2012 MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) - France has no intention to supply arms to the Syrian opposition and is ready to discuss the UN and Arab League’s peace plan, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday.

“I am convinced that if there are several hundred observers in Syria who are able to move about the country freely, the situation may change,” he said. “If the mission fails we will discuss further action.”

“So far we are not considering the question of arms supplies,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned reporters against one-sided, simplified coverage of the situation in Syria.

“Do not pretend that everything depends on Russia, which is supposed to have influence on (President) Bashar al-Assad. That is unworthy of politicians as well as of journalists.

“The situation depends on those who have influence over opposition groups. This includes the United States, France, Britain, Turkey and Persian Gulf states,” he said.

Lavrov again urged all countries supporting UN special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to work toward ensuring its success.

Lavrov recently criticized attempts by some countries to “privatize” internationally-backed efforts to end the more-than-year-long crisis in Syria. The statement came after Tuesday’s meeting on Syria held by a group of Arab League states in Qatar, some of whose participants raised doubts over the Syrian government’s commitment to the Annan peace plan.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad last March, according to UN estimates.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place in Syria for a week, although there have been reports of numerous violations of the truce by both government and opposition forces. A group of six UN observers have been deployed to Syria to monitor the ceasefire in line with a resolution approved by the Security Council last week, which provides for a mission of up to 250 monitors to be sent to the violence-torn Arab country.

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