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The UK May Soon Recognize Syrian Rebel Group

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- So far, France is the only Western nation to formally recognize the Syrian opposition group, but the United Kingdom may soon join the French.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague is scheduled to meet Friday with leaders of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

According to a BBC report, Hague wants to ask the leaders of the Syrian rebel umbrella group about “their way forward.”

The United States and the U.K. have both expressed support for the umbrella group, but have stopped short of recognizing it as a government in exile.  Hague has stated the rebels need “to win over the middle ground of opinion in Syria to work effectively together, to be inclusive, to respect human rights, to have a clear plan for political transition in Syria.”

British officials are also discussing the possible lifting of the European Union embargo that prevents the shipment of arms to the rebels fighting in Syria.  The French government has already called on its fellow EU members to ease the arms embargo on Syria in order to enable “defensive arms” to reach those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

An estimated 35,000 people have died since the uprising began 20 months ago.

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