Lavrov, Cavusoglu Discuss Preparations for Syrian National Dialogue Congress

MOSCOW-Russian and Turkish Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu have discussed preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in a telephone conversation, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Wednesday.

"The two ministers discussed preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress as a milestone on the way towards the Syrian political settlement as part of the UN-brokered negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the ministry said.

Ukraine Parliament Rejects Amendment on Breaking off Diplomatic Ties with Russia

Some Ukrainian experts have already voiced an opinion that the law in the planned wording will make more difficult and will put off the tasks for a peace settlement in Donbass

KIEV, Ukrainian parliamentarians did not give their backing on Wednesday to the amendment on cutting diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation to the bill on the reintegration of Donbass, with 72 parliamentarians voting in favor of it, way below the required minimum of 226 votes.

US Cutting of Aid for UNRWA Censured

A United Nations agency aiding Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, UNRWA, has censured the United States over its decision to cut funding for the body by more than half.

“The US has announced it will contribute $60 million to the program budget. There is for the moment no other indication of possible funding,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP on Wednesday; a day after Washington made the move.

Russia to Respond Appropriately to US-Led Coalition's Move of Forming New Armed Group in Syria: Shamanov

MOSCOW, (ST)- Head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov has stressed that Russia will respond appropriately to the US-led coalition's move of forming a new armed group in Syria called the "Border Security Force" (BSF).

Novosti news agency quoted Shamanov as saying on Sunday that the United States' procedure of establishing a new armed force in Syria with the aid of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) contradicts Russia's interests and it will adopt suitable response towards this act.

Trump's Announcement on Nuclear Deal 'Desperate Attempt': Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed US President Donald Trump's reluctant announcement on Iran's nuclear sanctions waiver as a "desperate attempt" to undermine a "non-negotiable" international deal.

"Trump's policy and today’s announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paragraphs 26, 28 and 29," Zarif tweeted on Friday, in reaction to Trump's stance against the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to Press TV.

The "JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance -just like Iran," Zarif added.

Zakharova: Russian Diplomat Blasts Western Establishment for ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ on Raqqa

MOSCOW- Moscow believes there is some sort of veil of secrecy in the Western media and political circles to whitewash the real situation in Syria’s Raqqa to avoid discrediting Washington’s activities, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday, according to Itar Tass.

"An apparent conspiracy of silence, it is difficult to call it otherwise, is being shaped in the Western media and political circles regarding the true state of affairs in Raqqa," she noted. "This is done in order not to discredit actions by Washington and its allies in Syria, who have no legal grounds for their presence in Syria. Concurrently, attempts continue to blow the issue out of proportion and distort developments in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib, which are part of the de-escalation zones set up in Syria."

Astana Talks Play Key Role in Settling Crisis in Syria: UN

NEW YORK– UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenca, announced that the Astana talks play an important role in resolving the crisis in Syria.

SANA reported that during an interview over internet with Kazakhstan media, Jenca said the Astana talks for resolving the crisis in Syria support the political process in Geneva under the supervision of the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, pointing out that Kazakhstan plays an important and fundamental role in resolving the crisis.

Trump Asks why People from What He Called ‘Shithole Countries’ Come to US

Using the most condescending and undiplomatic language imaginable, US President Donald Trump has reportedly asked why “people from shithole countries come to” the United States.

Trump made the contemptuous comments about immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and African countries during a White House meeting on Thursday with lawmakers who were reportedly startled and charged that the Republican president is racist, according to multiple people briefed on the meeting. 

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.