Italian Politician Blames Saudi Arabia, Qatar for Arming Syrian Rebels

Italian Politician Blames Saudi Arabia, Qatar for Arming Syrian Rebels

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A former Italian prime minister denied reports that the European countries send arms to anti-government rebels in Syria, saying that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are to blame for arming and funding the extremist groups in that country.

Former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema told a Tasnim reporter on Wednesday that the European countries are opposed to any military intervention in crisis-hit Syria, adding that Europe has not provided the rebels and extremist groups in the Arab country with military assistance.

Instead, he explained, that kind of support for the rebels fighting in Syria has been provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have shipped consignments of arms to the war-torn Arab country.

Nearly all the European countries are opposed to the military action in Syria, D’Alema noted, adding that political negotiations and diplomacy remain the only solutions to the lingering crisis in Syria.

In May, the European Union agreed to let its embargo on giving arms to the Syrian rebels expire on June 1. That made it possible for member states to create their own policies to send weapons to rebels. 

Also in a Tuesday meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, D’Alema pointed to Tehran’s enormous capacities in political, economic and commercial fields, saying Iran can serve as a perfect partner for European countries.

The visiting Italian politician also noted that sustainable peace, stability and security would not be established in the Middle East without Iran’s effective role.

D'Alema’s trip to Iran comes as Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino is scheduled to pay an official visit to the country on December 21-22 to hold "institutional meetings" with senior Iranian officials.

This will be the first time that an Italian foreign minister travels to Tehran in nearly 10 years.

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