Lords Committee questions Foreign Office over EU action on Syria

11 June 2013

Senior Foreign Office officials will appear before the House of Lords Committee on External Affairs on Thursday 13 of June as part of its work scrutinising EU policy on Syria.

The Committee will ask the officials about the recent removal of the arms embargo and its implications, as well as humanitarian plans in the region. It will also question them over recent reports of the use of chemical weapons and how EU policy is addressing this. The Committee will meet as the crisis in the region worsens, with the United Nations launching the largest appeal in its history for humanitarian aid. The Committee will ask what further EU action is possible to assist refugees.

The Foreign Office officials giving evidence to the Committee will be:

  • David Quarrey – Director of Middle East and North Africa;
  • Bridget Brind – Head of Near East Department; and
  • Philip Hall – Head of Counter Proliferation Department.

The witnesses will face questions on a number of other issues, including:

  • What is the purpose of the removal of the arms embargo and what does the EU hope to achieve?
  • How likely is it that arms will now be supplied, when, and to whom?
  • How can Member States ensure that the arms remain with those for whom they are intended?
  • What is the EU doing on the political track to resolve the crisis?
  • The UK and France seem to have been driving policy in the EU and, for example, are also the countries which reportedly have identified the use of chemical weapons in Syria. How likely is it that their findings will influence the attitudes of other EU members? Why does the US position on this appear to differ from that of the UK and France?

The evidence session will take place at 10.00am, Thursday 13 June in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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