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Syria talks agree military aid to rebels

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Foreign ministers of countries supporting the Syrian opposition on Saturday agreed to provide it "urgently" with materiel to support rebels in their fight against regime forces, a final statement said.

They agreed to "provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies and protect the Syrian people."

The ministers also agreed "to channel all military support by the relevant countries through the Staff Chairmanship of the Syrian Supreme Military Council," the statement said.

They also agreed that the crossing into Syria of militia and fighters that support the regime, a clear reference to Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, "must be prevented".

In that respect, they emphasised that neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon need to "actively safeguard their borders in order to ensure that fighters and equipment do not escalate current tensions."

They agreed "to pursue all appropriate avenues in the UN to support and protect the Syrian people".

The statement said ministers also expressed readiness to take part in a Geneva peace conference, proposed by Washington and Moscow.

They affirmed their commitment to negotiations to establish a transitional governing body with full executive powers.

"In this context, Bashar al-Assad has no role in the transitional governing body or thereafter," the statement said.

The ministers warned of the "increasing presence and growing radicalism" and "terrorist elements in Syria."

It is "a matter that deepens the concerns for the future of Syria, threatens the security of neighbouring countries and risks destabilising the wider region and the world," they said.

Ministers from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States attended the talks.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130622/syria-talks-agree-military-aid-rebels-0