Continued from page 1

The EU does not itself offer formal recognition — that is left to the individual member countries — but it has said the coalition is a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Mr. Bildt said it was important for EU foreign ministers to send a message of strong support to the opposition, and also to Lakdhar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, who Mr. Bildt said has been making “good progress.”

Mr. Bildt said Syria’s chemical weapons would be discussed as well.

“In a situation of chaos, it is exceedingly dangerous if these things start floating around in the region,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said many members have been urging the EU to move on bringing war crimes charges against Mr. Assad.

“We must recognize the terrible situation in Syria and the responsibility he bears for it,” Ms. Ashton said.

Syria is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and the U.N. Security Council has not referred the conflict to the war crimes tribunal.

Also Monday, the foreign ministers approved the concept of an EU noncombat training mission in Mali, where the central government has lost control of the northern part of the African nation to armed Islamist groups.

The U.S. and the European Union want the Malian army and other African troops to be properly trained before they try to retake the north.

The move allows EU military planners to start preparations for the mission, which would provide instruction to the Malian military. Another council decision will be needed before the Mali mission is deployed.