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Foreign minister wants to arm Syrian opposition

Until now, Denmark has rejected arming the moderate opposition


Martin Lidegaard admitted that more weapons in Syria was "problematic", but necessary in order to secure the delivery of humanitarian aid (Photo: Scanpix)

May 20, 2014
11:16

by CW


Denmark is prepared to provide the moderate opposition groups in Syria with weapons, the foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, has told Berlingske newspaper.

Lidegaard’s predecessor Villy Søvndal opposed the EU decision in May 2013 to lift its weapons embargo against Syria, but Lidegaard thinks differently.

“More weapons in Syria are not unproblematic,” Lidegaard told Berlingske. “But the status quo is an even worse scenario and together with out allies, I want to consider how we can give the moderate opposition the momentum on the battlefield.”

Until now, Denmark has rejected arming the moderate opposition – primarily because of the risk that the weapons will end up in the hands of extremist Islamic rebels.

READ MORE: Government unveils new Syria strategy

More Islamists present
But Lidegaard visited the Syrian opposition government in southern Turkey last week and got the impression that things are moving in the wrong direction on all fronts. The numbers of refugees are rising as is the number of extremists involved in the conflict.

The foreign minister went on to underline that the most pressing issue in Syria at the moment is securing the humanitarian aid necessary to assist the millions of displaced Syrians fleeing from the conflict or caught in the crossfire. And that requires military power.

“Because we are not yet considering putting our own forces in, it requires that we support some of the opposition groups with the necessary weapons and that is what some nations are considering at the moment," he said.



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