China Says to Continue to Advance Ties with Iran

 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday that Beijing values its relations with Iran and is willing to continue to advance mutually beneficial cooperation according to the development of the situation.

According to Xinhua, in a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Wang said that the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is an important achievement of multilateralism in line with the common interest of the international community.

Adhering to the nuclear deal also conforms to the fundamental interests of Iran, he said.

Putin: Energy is one of The Priorities of Russian-German Cooperation

BERLIN - Russia attaches great importance to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with Germany and energy is one its priorities, President Vladimir Putin told reporters before the talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Russia attaches great importance to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with Germany in the political, economic and other areas. One of the priority areas is energy," Putin said.

The President recalled that "Germany is the largest buyer of Russian energy resources."

"In 2017, we delivered 53.8 bln cubic meters of gas, which covers more than 30% of the German market, while the consumption of Russian gas is constantly growing and this year it increased by 13%," he said.

China Refutes Pentagon Report Judging Military Strength, Urges US to Abandon its Cold War Mindset

BEIJING-The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday voiced strong opposition to a Pentagon report on China's military development and security, urging the U.S. to stop making improper remarks.

According to China's Xinhua news agency, the ministry's Spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks in response to the report released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Defense hyping up the so-called "China threat" and "lack of military transparency."

Saying the report ignores the facts and inappropriately judges China's efforts in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and security interests, Lu stressed that China, as a facilitator of world peace, a contributor to global development and a maintainer of international order, always adheres to a peaceful development path and defensive military strategy.

Russia Displays Terrorists’ Drones Shot Down over Three Days near Hmeymim

LATTAKIA- Journalists from leading foreign mass media have been allowed to see terrorists’ drones shot down over the past three days near Hmeymim while trying to attack the airbase.

According to Itar Tass, a group of foreign journalists touring Syria’s areas undergoing postwar reconstruction asked Russian military officials to let them see the makeshift drones terrorist use for attacks on Hmeymim. They were allowed to take a look at several improvised remote-controlled aircraft downed over the past several days.

Russian Defense Ministry official Major-General Igor Konashenkov said the past month saw an increase in attempts at committing terrorist attacks involving drones.

Zakharova Slams UNHCR's Support for White Helmets’ Provocative Actions

MOSCOW- Russia considers any support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for the provocative activity of the so-called White Helmets a mistake, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at Wednesday’s briefing, commenting on the information of the UNHCR’s participation in the evacuation of the White Helmets from Syria, according to Itar Tass.

"We paid attention to the media reports of the UNHCR’s participation in the evacuation from Syria of a large group of activists from the notorious White Helmets, that represented itself as a humanitarian organization, but was in fact a tool for the hybrid information-propaganda fight that a number of states conducted on Syrian territory, including through illegal armed groups and such pseudo-humanitarian organizations," she noted. "Unfortunately, the UN’s management confirmed its involvement in these events on the official website."

Moscow Urges EU to Assist Returning Syrian Refugees

MOSCOW-The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged the leadership of the European Union to assist in the return of Syrian refugees home, ministry’s representative Nikolai Burtsev told a session of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters supervising the return of refugees to Syria on Wednesday, Itar Tass reported.

"Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said as he met with EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship [Dimitris] Avramopoulos that assistance to the Russian initiative for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland would be objectively in the interests of the European Union, "Burtsev said.

Keeping the Czech Embassy in Syria Working Serves Interests of Czech Republic, Its Allies

PRAGUE, (ST)- Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamáček has stressed that the ministry has no plan to make any changes within the Czech Embassy in Damascus.

In a statement, Hamáček said “the embassy has many things to do and it is accomplishing all its activities very well, which is a matter that bothers some parties.”

He reiterated that “calls for withdrawing the Czech Ambassador in Damascus Eva Filippi don’t serve the interests of the Czech Republic or its allies; on the contrary, the embassy’s presence in Damascus serves these interests.”  

Dozens Dead as Motorway Bridge Collapses near Genoa, Italy

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has said that around 30 people have been killed and many seriously injured following the collapse of a motorway bridge near the northern city of Genoa, RT reported.

"Around 30 people are dead and many others are seriously injured,” Salvini told reporters, according to the AGI news agency.

Governor of Liguria Giovanni Toti said the official death toll, which currently stands at 22, will likely rise “significantly,” while the country’s ambulance service earlier confirmed that “dozens” of people had died in the accident. Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli described Tuesday’s events as an “immense tragedy.”