Amendments to EU arms embargo with Syria would be for technical support

Recent efforts to change the European Union arms embargo with Syria were made to provide technical assistance, not to arm Syrian opposition groups, British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a Monday press conference.

Prime Minister Cameron made the statement as part of a joint press conference in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama. Cameron was asked if it was Britain's intention to send weapons to the Syrian opposition forces if the arms embargo is amended or lapses.

"We have not made the decision to arm opposition groups in Syria," Cameron said. "What we've done is we have amended the EU arms embargo in order that we can give technical assistance and technical advice. And as I said in my statement, that's exactly what we're doing."

Cameron said the U.K. is continuing to look at the arms embargo and determine if further changes should be made to facilitate working with the opposition.

"I do believe that there's more we can do, alongside technical advice, assistance, help, in order to shape them, in order to work with them," Cameron said. "And to those who doubt that approach, I would just argue that, look, if we don't help the Syrian opposition -- who we do recognize as being legitimate, who have signed up to a statement about a future for Syria that is democratic, that respects the rights of minorities -- if we don't work with that part of the opposition, then we shouldn't be surprised if the extremist elements grow."

The two world leaders spoke during Cameron's visit about Syria and both countries' efforts to transition to a post-Bashar al-Assad Syria.

"We discussed Syria and the appalling violence being inflicted on the Syrian people," President Obama said. "Together, we're going to continue our efforts to increase pressure on the Assad regime, to provide humanitarian aid to the long-suffering Syrian people, to strengthen the moderate opposition, and to prepare for a democratic Syria without Bashar Assad. And that includes bringing together representatives of the regime and the opposition in Geneva in the coming weeks to agree on a transitional body which would allow a transfer of power from Assad to this governing body. Meanwhile, we'll continue to work to establish the facts around the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and those facts will help guide our next steps."