Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre joins with European Network Against Arms Trade in opposing any moves to amend the current EU arms embargo on Syria as proposed by the United Kingdom. We also urge Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to leave power. The EPJC calls on the UK, and the whole of the UN Security Concil to heed the advice of UN Arab League Envoy Brahimi and agree to place sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to call for him to leave power. We particularly call on Russia and China to put aside their own perceived national interests and join the international community in calling for Bashar al Assad to step aside.
In a related development we urge Isreal to refrain from unprovoked bombing in Syrian territory. Such action would cross a dangerous rubicon and could open the flood gates to wider regional conflict.
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.
ENAAT said “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.”
The EPJC agrees with ENAAT in stating “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.”
The Statement was signed by the following groups:
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