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Syrian rebels will not be armed without MPs' approval, says William Hague
The UK will not start arming Syrian rebels without giving MPs a vote on the issue, William Hague has confirmed.
The foreign secretary made the announcement after more than 80 Tories signed a letter calling on the government to seek the Commons' approval for such a decision.
Last month the EU bowed to British and French pressure by easing its embargo on supplying weapons to Syria.
Hague said the shift had provided flexibility, but no decision had been taken on whether to arm rebel forces fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime. "People have very strong views on this," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.
"We have a good record on going to the House of Commons for a vote. There would be a vote one way or another. I can't see any reason why it couldn't be before any such decision was implemented. Just for the sake of clarity, we wouldn't use a parliamentary recess to say we can't consult parliament because it's the middle of August, so MPs don't have to be concerned about that."
Hague said the world was failing Syrians by allowing the violence to escalate. He suggested the regime's recent gains on the ground might have reduced the chances of success at a mooted peace summit in Geneva. "It makes it less likely that the regime will make enough concessions in such negotiations, and it makes it harder to get the opposition to come to the negotiations," he added.
[Source: The Guardian, London, 09Jun13]
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