Sweden to push EU for weapons embargo against Turkey: report

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The Swedish flag at half mast is pictured at the Stockholm City Hall prior an official ceremony and a minute of silence to commemorate the victims of a terror attack on Drottninggatan, Stockholm, April 10, 2017. Four people died and fifteen were injured when a truck plunged into a crowd at a busy pedestrian street in the Swedish capital on April 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY AND TT News Agency / Anders WIKLUND / Sweden OUT

Sweden will push for a European Union weapons embargo against Turkey at an EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday, the Swedish parliament decided on Friday, Reuters reported, citing Swedish state radio.

Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Thursday condemned Turkey’s military offensive in northeastern Syria.

“It violates international law, destabilizes the situation and risks having great humanitarian consequences, not the least for the Kurds. The UN’s security council must immediately address the issue,” she said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide told AFP on Thursday that the country would suspend arms sales to Turkey over that country’s military operations in northeastern Syria.

Soreide said in an email that the country would pause the sales of defensive arms and other weaponry to Turkey’s government, which has faced international criticism for attacking the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Next week’s European Union summit will discuss sanctions on Turkey over its action in Syria, French State Secretary for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin said on Friday.

“It will be debated next week at the European Council,” de Montchalin said on France Inter radio. “Obviously, it’s on the table.”

“We will not remain powerless when faced with a situation that is shocking for civilians, the free Syrian forces and the stability of the region,” she said.

Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte also joined a choir of international backlash on Turkey’s military offensive, saying that the European Union must not bow to threats from Ankara to push millions of Syrian refugees into EU countries.

“The EU cannot accept this blackmail. Turkish efforts to welcome Syrian refugees cannot then become a tool of blackmail for a military initiative that we cannot accept and which must immediately stop,” Conte told reporters.

In a speech on Thursday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened the European Union, saying that if the bloc labeled the operation an “occupation,” he would “open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees” to Europe.

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