NICOSIA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- European defense ministers meeting in Cyprus on Thursday ruled out the possibility of a military intervention in Syria and advocated a political solution to the crisis faced by the country.
"Our aim is to extend our support to the people in the area to build their own democratic institutions, their own democratic societies and democratic states based on human and political rights," said Cypriot Defense Minister Demetris Eliades, who chaired the two-day informal meeting.
He added that the European Union is in favor of a political solution in Syria.
"Our priority is to prevent further loss of life and destruction, to restore a peaceful environment and deter a regional escalation of the crisis, especially in Lebanon, because such a development will lead to unpredictable consequences in the region," Eliades said.
However, Eliades conceded that the situation in Syria is tragic and the general feeling in the meeting was that no end of the crisis is in sight.
Ministers of southern EU countries said they were concerned about a new wave of immigrants from Arab and northern African countries arriving in Europe and called for concerted action to deal with such contingency.
Greece asked for practical economic and military assistance by Frontex, the European Union agency in charge of keeping watch on the external EU borders.
The EU defense ministers meeting said they supported a United Nations presence in Syria and the mission of UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
They also said they discussed the situation in Libya and Mali and stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to the defense challenges in the southern neighborhood of the European Union.
They asked for more options towards international efforts to support Mali in response to an appeal by the country's authorities to the European Union.
Greece and France criticized the NATO secretariat for not being represented at the Cyprus EU Defense Ministers meeting.
No reason for NATO's absence was given officially, but it is reported that Turkey is opposed to any contacts between NATO and Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.