Saudi official backs arms for Syrian rebels

AP News
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Posted: Feb 24, 2012 1:34 PM
Saudi official backs arms for Syrian rebels

The Saudi foreign minister says arming the rebels fighting the brutal regime of President Bashar Assad is "an excellent idea."

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal went further than any of the other Friends of Syria nations meeting in Tunis Friday to increase pressure on Assad to call for a cease-fire, step down and allow humanitarian aid to flow to hard-hit areas.

Asked at the start of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if he thought arming the Syrian opposition was a good idea, al-Faisal said: "I think it's an excellent idea." Asked why, he said, "Because they have to protect themselves."

The group is demanding that Assad step down or face as-yet undefined punishments.