Absence of good will in Syrian 'opposition' obstructs conference - Putin

YEKATERINBURG– The absence of good will in Syria's armed opposition and of a common platform in the camp opposed to the Syrian government are obstructing efforts to prepare a conference on Syrian settlement in Geneva, said President Vladimir Putin, according to Voice of Russia,R IA Novosti.

"What stands in the way? Obviously, the absence of good will on the part of the armed opposition, the absence of a common platform in the opposition camp, and impossibility to select participants in the conference from the armed opposition," said Putin during a joint press conference at the Russia-European Union Summit with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso .

"We hope all of these problems will be resolved as soon as possible," Putin said. Moscow and Brussels agree that a second Geneva conference should be held.

"This is what unites us with our European colleagues," Putin said. He also said that the Russian and American foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry have prepared proposals regarding the convocation of a second Geneva conference.

"Russia voluntarily assumed the obligation to persuade the Syrian leadership to take part in this conference. The Syrian leadership, as you know, has officially announced its agreement to participate," Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also defended his country's sale of S-300 air defense systems to war-torn Syria on Tuesday, but said the contracts for the missiles have not yet been fulfilled.

 “We do not want to disturb the balance in the region,” said Putin ,adding “The contract was signed several years ago. It has not yet been realized."

Putin praised the capabilities of the Russian-made S-300s, which can engage 12 targets simultaneously at distances of 200 kilometers and heights of up to 27 kilometers.

 “The S-300 systems are, really, one of the best air defense systems in the world – probably the best,” he said.

The shipment of S-300s to Syria is a continuing source of friction between Washington and Moscow. US Secretary of State John Kerry said last month that the presence of the weapons in Syria would be “destabilizing” for the region.

Putin also stressed that the deliveries of S-300s to Syria are legal.

 “Russian deliveries of weapons to Syria are implemented on the basis of recognized and transparent international contracts,” said Putin. “They do not violate any international position. And they are implemented exclusively, and in their entirety, within the framework of international law.”


Rompuy: No Alternative to Political Solution to Crisis in Syria

MOSCOW-  European Council President Herman Van Rompuy reaffirmed the absence of any alternative to a political solution to the crisis in Syria in his speech at the opening of the Russia-EU summit in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday.

The European Union will further enhance its cooperation with Russia on the Syrian issue, Van Rompuy said, welcoming the planned international conference on Syria in Geneva.

The approaches of Russia and the EU to the situation in Afghanistan and North Korea are similar, he said.

Both sides have moved far forward in their negotiations on a new cooperation and partnership agreement, Van Rompuy said, describing this progress as a reliable foundation for promoting bilateral ties further.

Van Rompuy also supported cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission, which, he said, the EU has recognized.

On Monday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the EU's Chairman Herman Van Rompuy, the European Commission’s head Jose Manuel Barroso and the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton gathered in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg to discuss the situation around Syria and the state of affairs in the world’s economy.

H. Mustafa

Lavrov, Ki-moon: Sound Plan for International Conference on Syria Imperative


MOSCOW, (ST) –" Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed over  a phone call on the  situation in Syria particularly  on the military situation in al-Qseir,"said a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Monday

During the phone call,Lavrov and Ban Ki-moon underlined the need to resolve the situation in Syria and the need for a sound plan  as regards  the international conference on Syria due to be held in Geneva.


 Russia presses US for more push on "rebels" in Syria

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has chided the US over its reluctance to push opposition groups towards taking part in the planned conference on Syrian peace in Geneva,According to Voice of Russia.

“We believe the US is clearly not outspoken enough in urging Syrian opposition organizations to send their representatives to the international conference we’ve been preparing,” Mr. Ryabkov said in an interview to Russian media.

The high-ranking official of Russia’s foreign ministry also called on Washington to advise rebels in Syria against giving their ultimatums.

“It is unacceptable. We won’t be able to agree on that stance,” Mr. Ryabkov noted.

He said there existed certain discrepancies between the US and Russia on Tehran’s participation in the global roundtable.

 “This problem is still open. But there will be no breakthrough without Iran,” he added.


Syria condemns Zionist entity's settlement tenders

DAMASCUS,(ST)_Syria has condemned in the strongest possible terms the Israeli occupation authorities' announcement of new settlement building tenders.

An official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said Monday that Syria strongly denounces the Israeli occupation authorities' plan to build 1000 settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.

"Verily, the Israeli decisions reflect criminal policy of Israel and those who stand by it and the international community's failure, particularly the UN Security Council, to end the Israeli settlement in the occupied Arab territories," the source added.

He made it clear that the Israeli decisions violate the UN charter, international law and the relevant UN resolutions.

"Syrian appeals to all world states and the UN to work to stop the Israeli settlement policy as it targets the Palestinian people's future," the source said, calling on Arab people all over the world to confront the 'new Zionist attack' that targets Arabs' rights and their Holy Shrines.

Recently, the Israeli occupation authorities announced its determination to build 1000 Israeli settlements in the eastern part  of  the occupied Jerusalem within a wide settlement plan that stipulates for building 80.000 settlement units in different areas across the occupied Palestine.

Basma Qaddour

Government eying on post-crisis all-out development, Says al-Halqi

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ "the government is currently  eying on post-crisis comprehensive development through bringing all national potentials together with the aim of upgrading the economy's indicator in the forthcoming stage, "said  Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi .

Al-Halqi's emphasis was made  during a  meeting held on Monday with the UN Resident Coordinator in Syria, Adam Abdul-Mawla.

High on the meeting's agenda was discussing  Syria's cooperation with international organizations in various humanitarian and development fields and ways to  strengthen  it.

"undoubtedly, the government will continue to offer all necessary facilitations for delivering basic materials, especially food and medicine, to citizens across Syria  .It is the government's duty to meet the peoples' requirements,"  underscored al-Halqi.

Al-Halqi told his guest that  the government is ready to cooperate  with all international organizations according to the principle of national sovereignty.

The Prime Minister praised the NGOs efforts  as regards aiding  displaced Syrians and providing them with food and medicine packages plus the daily-basis requirements.

Al-Halqi also lauded  the Syrian armed forces' victories  they already achieved only to restore security and tranquility to the homeland.

"systematically, the armed groups are relentlessly working to vandalize the development, service and economic sectors in service of US, Western and Israeli schemes, "asserted al-Halqi.

Abdul-Mawla,for his part, clarified   that the UNDP has accomplished the humanitarian response plan in Syria and basic  plans were set for reconstruction and helping the Syrian people improve their living conditions in coordination with the government through creating job opportunities in several areas in addition to rehabilitate basic service utilities.

He expressed appreciation for the Syrian government's efforts and facilitations for delivering aid to citizens.

"actually, the  main goal of the organizations, operating in Syria, is to  render relief and   humanitarian aid to affected people," asserted Abdul-Mawla.