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Lavrov: conflict only resolved through negotiations “without any preconditions

ISTANBUL, (ST)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday criticized the Friends of Syria grouping of Western and Arab countries opposed to the Syrian government as negative for dialogue.

Russian TV RT quoted Minister Lavrov as saying “Right now we see this process is making a negative contribution to the [Geneva] decisions,” Lavrov said in Istanbul, referring to a 2012 accord among world powers in Geneva aimed at solving the Syrian conflict.

“When one party is isolated in any mechanism set up to deal with a conflict, we miss the ground for dialogue.” He also said that Moscow was not involved in “regime change” or “legitimization of such attempts.”

Lavrov underscored that the ongoing conflict can only be resolved through negotiations and “without any preconditions,”

“If the number one priority is regime change, then, given that this is objectively impossible, the cost of such a geopolitical approach will evidently be more and more Syrian lives,” Lavrov said.

“Now it is up to those who are insisting on preconditions for dialogue to choose,” he said.

Minister Lavrov, according to Xinhua News Agency, added that  his country rejects military intervention in Syria, adding that Russia hopes to avoid any measure of military intervention in Syria in the forthcoming meeting of Friends of Syria in Istanbul.

"We do not struggle to change the regime. We don't support such activities but further dialogue between the regime and the opposition."

Lavrov warned that the Syrian tragedy will continue, the massacre will continue and the al-Qaida will emerge if the military intervention takes place.

Lavrov warned against any military intervention in Syria, saying that it would only make the situation worse and encourage the spread of radical Islamic groups including Al-Qaeda.

“In our future deliberations we will try to avoid any measures that focus on military intervention and the isolation of the parties concerned,” he said.

“We will focus on establishing a dialogue platform with the participation of all parties involved.”

As for the upcoming Friends of Syria meeting which will be hosted by Istanbul on April 20, Lavrov said that his country is not a member of Friends of Syria group and expressed his doubts over activities of the group.

Lavrov slammed the Friends of Syria group which gathers Western and Arab countries saying "right now we see this process is making a negative contribution to the Geneva decisions," while referring to a 2012 accord among world powers in Geneva aiming at resolving the Syrian conflict through talks involving all parties in Syria.

"When one party is isolated in any mechanism set up to deal with a conflict, we miss the ground for dialogue," he stressed.

If you look at the practical perspectives of this group, do you think it could contribute to the Geneva Agreements?" Lavrov wondered.

"The Friends of Syria group is supporting the Syrian oppositions. Some of the Syrian oppositions are labeled as representatives of the Syrian people but this is contradictory with the international law," Lavrov added.

Lavrov said if any military intervention happens in Syria in the future, the chance for dialogue would be lost, reiterating al- Qaida emergence and intensified terrorism activities inside Syria.

"We see Al-Qaeda-related groups struggling against the current regime (in Syria), and that's a very worrying aspect," he said.

"And they are listed as terrorist groups by the United States."



Iraq deadly bombings hit Nasariyah, Kirkuk and Baghdad

At least 20 people have been killed and more than 100 others wounded in a series of early morning explosions in cities across Iraq, officials say.

Attacks were reported in Baghdad, as well as Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk in the north and Nasariyah in the south.

The co-ordinated attacks occurred during the morning rush hour and mainly involved car bombs.

The violence comes ahead of Iraq's provincial elections on 20 April, the first in the country since 2010.

Monday's attacks were particularly broad in scope, with several cities hit, including Fallujah, Tikrit, Samarra and Hilla.

The explosions were caused by dozen of cars packed with explosives and three roadside bombs, AFP news agency reported.

Three car bombs went off minutes apart in Tuz Khurmatu, killing six people and wounding 60, AFP reported.

A number of attacks were also reported in Baghdad.

In one incident, two car bombs claimed two lives and wounded 17 at a checkpoint at the heavily guarded airport, Reuters reported.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, nine people were killed when six car bombs went off simultaneously, police said.

Three of the bombs exploded in Kirkuk's city Centre - one in an Arab district, one in a Kurdish area, and a third in a Turkomen district, Associated Press reported.

Other blasts were reported elsewhere in the city.

Elsewhere, gunmen armed with pistols fitted with silencers shot and killed a police officer while he was driving his car in the town of Tarmiyah, 30 miles (50 km) north of Baghdad, AP said.

No group has admitted carrying out Monday's attacks.


Syrians Only, Who Have the Right to self- Determination- Iran

TEHRAN,( ST)_Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehmanparast stressed that no one has the right to dictate the its own agenda on the Syrian people, who are the only ones to have  the   right to self-determination and political future.
In a statement to the Iranian   Student News Agency  "ISNA today," the Iranian official said that  having  some armed groups carrying out terrorist operations against the Syrian government and people does not make  these groups legitimate, adding that the  adoption of such a  vision justifies  providing oppositions with  weapons and military equipment in other areas of the  region,  similar to what is happening in Syria.
Mehmanparast expressed his country's rejection to one side control  of  a state by resorting to violence, weapons and external support, stressing that it is only people who give legitimacy to the government and that no  force can topple a government that enjoys the  support of the majority of its people.
Concerning  Egyptian-Iranian relations in the field of tourism Mehmanparast stressed that the situation in Egypt has not yet settled and the Egyptians seek to attain  democracy to their  country, noting  that the development of tourism in both countries provides the  fertile ground for the promotion of  bilateral  economic relations .


T. Fateh

Gunmen launch deadly attack on Somalia courthouse

At least 20 people have been killed in a series of bomb and gun attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

More than 16 people are believed to have died after gunmen stormed the city's main court buildings, shooting and setting off explosions.

Later a car bomb was detonated on the road to the airport, killing four, including two aid workers and the attacker.

There have also been reports of a third attack in an unconfirmed location.

BBC reporter Mohamed Ibrahim at the scene says armed intruders entered the court in the capital and began firing, after which there was an explosion.

The attacks have created an atmosphere of fear among Mogadishu residents.

They are not the biggest Mogadishu has seen. But they came as people in Mogadishu were starting to experience relative calm, when life in the capital was beginning to return to normal.

The attacks have challenged the government's authority in the capital. Police have been deployed on the streets and government buildings are being protected.

But the government has previously admitted there is only so much it can do to stop suicide bombers.

"Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire," witness Hussein Ali, who works at the courts, told Reuters news agency.

Ugandan troops - part of the African Union force stationed in Mogadishu - arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting started.

The Somali government said that nine gunmen had been involved in the assault, and all had now been killed.

Six of them detonated suicide vests, it said. Al-Shabab said six of its fighters had been killed.

A second car bomb was detonated later, outside a building housing security forces on the road to the airport.


Iraq arrests 47 ‘terrorists’ near border with Syria

Iraq says its security forces have arrested 47 ‘terrorists’ on the charge of smuggling weapons from Iraq into Syria, Press TV reports.

Iraqi authorities said a group of militants with the al-Nusra Front terrorist group has been captured in Anbar Province, which is close to the border with Syria. Large caches of weapons were also seized.

The turmoil continues in Syria as the army battles foreign-sponsored militant groups in the country.

Damascus has time and again called on its neighbors to control the flow of arms and militants into Syria.

Last week, the al-Nusra Front formally pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The terrorist group has been behind many of the deadly bombings targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria since the beginning of violence in March 2011.

While al-Qaeda-linked groups have been listed as terrorist entities under sanctions by the United Nations, militants in Syria, including those belonging to al-Nusra, have been receiving all forms of support from the West.