- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2013

It doesn’t matter what the European Union says, British and France government officials say. They may go ahead and provide weapons to Syrian rebel fighters anyway.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke for the two governments on Thursday, while calling for the EU to move up its planned meeting to discuss the arms embargo against Syria from May to a sooner date, The Telegraph reports.

France and Britain request “the Europeans now to lift the embargo so that the resistance fighters have the possibility of defending themselves,” Mr. Fabius said, during a Thursday radio address. If the 27-member EU refuses, then Britain and France may go rogue on the issue, he said.

France is “a sovereign nation,” after all, he said, in The Telegraph. And “we must move quickly” on this issue. “We, along with the British, will ask for the meeting to be moved up,” possibly to March.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated on Tuesday that his country could very well dismiss an EU decision to keep in place the arms embargo. Britain may ship weapons to Syrian rebels, he said, in The Telegraph report, if it meant a speedier end to President Bashar Assad’s rule.

The EU does allow for member states to send non-lethal aid to rebel forces in Syria right now.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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