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Britain holds off arming Syrian rebels despite U.S. decision
June 14, 2013 / 10:33 AM / 4 years ago

Britain holds off arming Syrian rebels despite U.S. decision

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is not ready to arm the Syrian opposition despite a decision by President Barack Obama to do so, but is not ruling out the introduction of a no-fly zone or any other measure, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits at Downing Street to meet Columbia's President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon in London June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall

“Nothing is off the table,” the spokesman said when asked whether Britain would back a no-fly zone, adding that “no decision has been taken” on arming the opposition. “We are in urgent discussions with our international partners”.

Cameron would discuss the Syrian conflict with Obama during a phone call later on Friday, the spokesman said, as part of a wide-ranging discussion to prepare the ground for next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier on Friday that he agreed with an assessment by the United States that chemical weapons including sarin had been used in Syria by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

“The United Kingdom has presented evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria to the UN investigation, and we have been working with our allies to get more and better information about the situation on the ground,” Hague said in a statement.

“We condemn the deplorable failure of the Assad regime to cooperate with the investigative mission.”

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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