POLITICS

Syrian Rebels Could Be Given British Weapons, Cameron Suggests

12/03/2013 21:02 GMT | Updated 12/05/2013 10:12 BST

Britain could decide to supply weapons to rebels fighting Bashar Assad's regime in Syria, David Cameron has hinted.

The prime minister suggested he could veto any extension to the EU's arms embargo if the situation did not improve.

The government is already providing non-lethal equipment such as armoured vehicles and body armour to rebel forces in the troubled country.

But European powers appear split on whether to escalate their involvement. France has already said it wants more freedom to help the rebels, while Germany is concerned that easing the embargo would merely cause more bloodshed.

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Giving evidence to the Commons Liaison Committee, Cameron was asked whether he thought the embargo would stay in place after it comes up for renewal in May.

"I hope that we can persuade our European partners (and) if and when a further change becomes necessary, they will agree with us," he said.

"But if we can't, then it's not out of the question we might have to do things in our own way. It's possible."

He added: "I hope that wouldn't be the case. What I would like to do is continue with an EU approach."

The prime minister insisted the UK was "still an independent country" and could have "an independent foreign policy".