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Be "rational" and end embargo, Cuba urges U.S.

Havana, Oct 21 (EFE).- A panel of Cuban specialists on Monday blasted the damage caused by the economic embargo imposed on the island by the U.S. since 1962, and urged Washington to be "rational." "What we really see now is a very extreme application of measures" to enforce the embargo, panel member Andres Zaldivar said during a videoconference at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Attention editors

The item Health-disease-madcow-Britain moved ex-Paris at 2230 GMT on Monday has erroneously moved ahead of the embargo time. Please note that it is embargoed until 2230 GMT on Tuesday.

Austria warns against arms shipments to Syrian rebels

Austria has warned its 26 European Union partners in a letter against providing weapons for rebel movements in the Syrian conflict, said a press report to be published Tuesday. The foreign ministry in Vienna confirmed late Monday that a document had been handed over to the European Union in Brussels, but did not give details.

EU mulls help to Syria opposition by easing oil embargo

The European Union is considering a case-by-case easing of its oil embargo against Syria in order to help the opposition, diplomatic sources said Wednesday. If formally agreed by EU foreign ministers at talks Monday in Luxembourg, the decision would enable EU companies to import oil on a case-by-case basis from areas under opposition control, the sources said. It would also allow EU firms to resume investments and export of equipment intended for the oil and gas sector, diplomatic sources said under condition of anonymity.

EU mulls contested call to lift Syria arms embargo

EU foreign ministers on Friday mulled a contested push by Britain and France to lift or amend a Syria arms embargo to help tip the balance in the country's more than two-year conflict. Calls by France and Britain to lift the embargo when a wide package of European Union sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime comes up for renewal at the end of May have sharply divided the 27-nation bloc. Stepping into two days of talks between the bloc's foreign ministers, Germany's Guido Westerwelle said Berlin remained "very reluctant" about delivering weapons to the country.

Europe divided over lifting Syria arms embargo

The European Union stood divided Friday on whether to lift an embargo on supplying arms to Syria's opposition despite a strong push from Britain and France. Pressed by the two major EU powers to help tip the balance in the conflict by arming the ill-equipped rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, leaders of the 27-nation bloc agreed to discuss the issue again next week, but there was little sign of a deal in the offing.

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

European Union leaders agreed Friday to seek a consensus as early as next week on the disputed question of whether to supply weapons to Syria's rebels by lifting an existing arms embargo. Pressed by Britain and France to help tip the balance on the ground by supplying weaponry to ill-equipped Syrian opposition fighters, EU leaders agreed on the final day of an EU summit to seek "a common position" at talks in Dublin next week.

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.

France says ready to arm Syria rebels if EU won't lift embargo

France is ready to "take its responsibilities" and supply weapons to Syria's rebels if it cannot convince its European partners to lift an arms embargo, President Francois Hollande said on Thursday. "Our goal is to convince our partners at the end of May, and if possible before.... If by chance there is a blockage by one or two countries, then France will take its responsibilities," Hollande said after talks on the first day of a European Union summit in Brussels.

Talks on lifting Syria arms embargo possible any time: EU

The EU said on Thursday it was possible to hold talks on whether to arm Syrian rebels "without further delay" after France claimed Paris and London were ready to supply the insurgents with weapons, even without the support of their partners. "If a member state wants to start the discussion without further delay, it is always possible," Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told AFP.
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