EU to seek 'common position' on Syria arms embargo next week

The European Union said on Friday it will seek "a common position" at talks in Dublin next week on whether to lift an arms embargo to supply weapons to the Syrian opposition.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy said at the close of a summit that leaders discussed calls from Britain and France to abandon the embargo and "agreed to task our foreign ministers to assess the situation as a matter of priority" at the Dublin talks.

Van Rompuy said the 27 heads of state and government "discussed the dramatic situation in Syria and reaffirmed the EU's full engagement in international efforts to end the intolerable violence."

"The question of the arms embargo was raised by some members," he added.

France and Britain had said they would push European leaders to lift a ban on supplying arms to Syria's rebels, as the country marked the second anniversary of the start of its increasingly bloody conflict.

Both London and Paris had warned they were ready to break ranks with their European partners to supply weapons to the rebels.

But there appeared little appetite from other Europeans for dropping the ban, many fearing that a flood of weapons into Syria will only escalate the conflict.