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U.S. rules out arming Syrian opposition


08:58, August 03, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Thursday again ruled out arming the opposition in Syria after peace envoy Kofi Annan announced his resignation.

"Our position has not changed," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Orlando, Florida.

"We provide non-lethal assistance to the opposition. We don't believe that adding to the number of weapons in Syria is what's needed to help bring about a peaceful transition," he said.

He noted that President Barack Obama is "grateful" for Annan's willingness to serve as UN-Arab League joint envoy and for his efforts to achieve peace and a peaceful transition in Syria.

Annan, who assumed his current post about five months ago, told reporters in Geneva on Thursday that he was disappointed over the lack of progress in the Syrian peace process and that he would step down after his current mandate expires on Aug. 31.

The former UN chief said without united international pressure, it is impossible for him and anyone else to compel the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to take the steps necessary to begin the political process.

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