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Some European Union countries which withdrew their ambassadors from Syria are saying privately it is time for more communication with Damascus even though Britain and France oppose it, diplomats said.This makes a change in EU policy unlikely, but the debate underlines a predicament for Western states which ostracized the government at the start of the crisis, imposed sanctions, and four years on still find Assad in power.The EU first imposed sanctions on Assad and his circle in 2011 as authorities cracked down on protests.While it is generally understood that there will have to be negotiations, diplomats said, Britain and France see Assad's departure as a precondition. EU diplomats point to what they see as the shift in the U.S. stance on Syria.In public, EU foreign ministers have ruled out dealing with Damascus.For its part, the United States, along with Turkey, reached a tentative agreement to train and equip nonjihadi Syrian fighters who oppose Assad. Assad is keen for the West to reopen embassies, diplomats say, ruling this out for now.Several EU countries have diplomats who travel to Damascus but are not based there officially.
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