May 27, 2013

Syria: EU fails to reach deal; McCain visits rebels

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS  — The Austrian foreign minister says the European Union's top diplomats have failed to reach a common position over Syria's civil war, and EU sanctions against Bashar Assad's regime are likely to expire on June 1.

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger told reporters Monday that he was concerned about the failure to reach a common position and said that after the sanctions collapse "everybody is entitled to deliver weapons to the Assad regime or to the opposition."

Spindelegger said he was holding out hope for a last-minute reversal that could salvage a deal in talks set to continue later Monday.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain has quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with Syrian rebels.

Spokeswoman Rachael Dean confirms the Arizona Republican made the visit. She declined further comment about the trip.

McCain has been a leading proponent of arming the rebels and other aggressive military steps against the Assad regime. He has criticized Obama administration policy there while stopping short of backing U.S. ground troops in Syria.

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