EU Nations, Mogherini Not to Attend Washington’s Anti-Iran Summit

A US effort to enlist Europe in its pressure campaign against Iran faced a setback after officials said ministers from several European Union members and EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini will skip a summit organized by Washington on Iran and the Middle East in Poland.

A senior EU official said on Thursday that Mogherini wouldn’t attend the Warsaw gathering because of a prior engagement, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Iran, Japan Celebrate 90th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties

Iran and Japan have celebrated the 90th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

In separate messages to the conference, Iranian and Japanese foreign ministers have extended congratulations on the event.

Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Japan Morteza Rahmani-Movahed said in the ceremony that the two countries have immense potential for cooperation.

He called for improvement of all-out ties between Iran and Japan in 2019.

UK Cabinet Starts Talks on 2nd Brexit Referendum - Liberal Democrats Party

LONDON - The UK government has engaged in discussions on the second Brexit referendum with various groups across the parliament, however, the timeline for the possible second vote on Britain's withdrawal from the EU, presented by the cabinet, is "completely wrong", the leader of the UK opposition Liberal Democrats party, Vince Cable said.

"One of the useful outcomes from the first round of the discussions with the government was around the practicalities of a People’s Vote. These discussions brought to the surface the complete misunderstanding in government circles about the time line to bring it about," Liberal Democrats leader Cable said as quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

Lavrov: Return of All Syrian Areas to State Authority Way to Stop Increase of Terrorism

MOSCOW- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has renewed Russia’s determination to continue backing Syria to eradicate terrorism.

Lavrov, in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Moscow on Friday, depicted as ” unacceptable”  the continued violation of the demilitarized zone agreement and targeting Syrian army points  and civilians by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization, according to SANA.

Russian Military Police Demine Field in Syrian Province of Daraa

Russian military police have demined a field in the Syrian province of Daraa and held drills on destroying "enemy" drones in the province of Quneitra, spokesman Ruslan Numakhadzhiev told reporters on Thursday, according to Itar Tass.

"We were contacted by local residents who found foreign-manufactured unexploded mortar shells of 120mm caliber. In accordance with established rules, we destroyed mortar shells," Numakhadzhiev said.

Moscow Obtained Evidence of US Ties to Daesh

MOSCOW-  Russia has obtained evidence of US ties to Daesh, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

According to Sputnik, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that a US special forces unit had raided a Taliban prison, holding several Daesh militants prisoner after being captured in August 2018. These prisoners were taken in an unknown direction.

The Foreign Ministry said that the US was interested in breaking out the Daesh prisoners to prevent information about their sponsors from being leaked.

Lavrov Stresses Need to Oust Remaining Terrorists in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held his annual large press conference on 16 January, having addressed the results of Russian diplomacy in 2018 and touched upon, among other issues, relations with the United States, the European Union, NATO as well as the crisis in Syria, nuclear arms reduction, and the much-hyped Trump-Putin Helsinki summit.

On Syria, Lavrov said, according to Sputnik, that after the US troops withdrawal from the Syrian territories, armaments, territories and military facilities under US control in Syria should be put under "the control of the Syrian government, the Syrian Armed Forces and the Syrian administrative structures, with the understanding that the Kurds should be provided with all necessary conditions".

Theresa May’s Brexit Plan Rejected by British Parliament

The Brexit deal, painstakingly agreed upon with the EU by PM Theresa May last year, has ultimately flopped, as MPs said a firm no. The failure brings even more uncertainty to the fate of May’s cabinet and the whole Brexit process, RT reported.

UK parliament voted down May’s Brexit plan on Tuesday by 432 votes to 202 – a margin of 230 – following lengthy debates on the matter. The vote was originally set to be held in mid-December, but was postponed amid fears that MPs would reject the unpopular deal between May and Brussels.