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EU ministers unlikely to fully recognise Syrian opposition

Last modified: 19 Nov 2012 03:27

A syrian rebel takes position in the town of Ras al-Ain near the border with Turkey on November 16 [Photo: AFP]

EU foreign ministers will on Monday thrash out positions on increasingly thorny problems in the Middle East, but the bloc will likely not follow France in giving full recognition to the new Syrian opposition, diplomats said.

The European Union has long called for unification of the fractious movement trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, amid a conflict that has killed an estimated 38,000 people.

Foreign ministers will also discuss the exchange of attacks over the past week between Israel and militants in the Gaza trip. But there is always a range of views within the European
Union on Israel, diplomats said.

Israel has been giving off signs of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-run enclave as the next stage in its air and sea offensive, which it says is aimed at stopping
Palestinian rocket fire.

Barack Obama, the US president, said that while Israel had a right to defend itself, it would be "preferable" to avoid an Israeli ground invasion.

In one diplomatic development in the Syrian conflict, France last week became the first European power to recognise the Syrian National Coalition as the sole representative of the
Syrian people, and the French foreign minister later called for discussion of the possibility of supplying arms to the rebels.

But other Western states are holding back, uneasy over accusations by UN investigators of war crimes committed by rebel fighters.

[Source: Reuters]