MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union’s failure on Monday to extend the arms embargo on Syria has brought the threat of terrorism from Syria to the borders of the EU, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported, citing Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi.
“It is a dangerous move as it brought Syrian terrorists several thousand kilometers closer to EU soil,” Araghchi was quoted by IRNA as saying, adding that lifting the embargo would increase the risk of terrorism against EU countries.
The diplomat said the EU’s move demonstrated double standards in the approach of European politicians to the issue of terrorism and was “a destructive move on the eve of the ‘Geneva 2’ conference on Syria.”
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton confirmed on Monday that from now on, every EU member country has the right to make its own decision on arms exports to Syria, meaning EU countries could now supply the Syrian opposition with weapons.
She affirmed that any arms sent to Syria would be "intended for the protection of civilians," and added that the European Union governments would review the position on sanctions on Syria before August 1.
The EU’s failure to renew the embargo on Monday has also been criticized by Moscow, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov calling it “a direct blow to the international conference on Syria.”
In early May, Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to organize an international conference aimed at facilitating a solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis through political dialogue. The conference is designed to be a follow-up to last year’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria, where more than 80,000 people have died since fighting broke out between government forces and rebels in March 2011. According to diplomatic sources, the conference may take place in mid-June, but both Moscow and Washington have so far avoided giving exact dates.