EU arms embargo on Syria should not be amended, say peace groups

PRESS RELEASE

30-01-2013 -- Groups organised in the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) strongly oppose any moves to amend the current EU arms embargo on Syria as proposed by the United Kingdom. A proposal to do so, to enable military equipment to be sent to anti-Assad groups, will most likely be presented to the Council of the European Union by the UK on Thursday 31 January.

Syria is already awash with weaponry. Any further weaponry would most likely prolong the conflict and reduce the chances of a peaceful outcome. The anti-Assad groups are largely an unknown quantity, consisting of many different groups, including those of a highly sectarian nature. Supplying arms to any group will increase future instability.

Moreover, sending more arms to the region will have long-term consequences, as arms do not go away after the conflict but might turn up with other groups in Syria or surrounding countries,as demonstrated by the Libyan arms now being used in Mali.

Instead of easing the arms embargo the EU should place pressure on Russia and other supplier countries to stop supplying weapons to the Syrian government, and ensure no weaponry supplied to third countries, such as Saudi Arabia, is sent on to any faction within Syria.

Signed:

  • Aktion Aufschrei: Stoppt den Waffenhandel, Germany - Christine Hoffmann
  • Bremen foundation for arms conversion and peace research, Germany – Andrea Kolling
  • Campagne tegen Wapenhandel, The Netherlands – Wendela de Vries, co-ordinator
  • Centre d'Estudis per a la Pau JM Delàs, Spain – Jordi Calvo Rufanges
  • Gruppe Schweiz ohne Armee (GSoA) / Groupe pour une Suisse sans armée (GSsA) - Adi Feller
  • Norwegian Peace Association – Hannah Eline Ander, co-ordinator
  • Rete Italiana per il Disarmo (Italian Disarmament Network) – Francesco Vignarca, co-ordinator
  • Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society – Anna Ek, president
  • Vredesaktie Belgium – Roel Stynen

For more information: Wendela de Vries + 31 (0)6 506 522 06