Syrian, Russian special services exchange info on terrorists: MFA

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Syrian and Russian special services are exchanging information about the reported presence in Syria of militants from Russia, European nations and the United States.

Syrian and Russian special services are exchanging information in connection with reports that about 600 foreign militants, including from Russia, the USA and Europe, are fighting in the territory of Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister, Special Envoy of the President for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov said.

In June, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that 600 militants from Russia and Europe are fighting on the side of the opposition in Syria.

"Exchange of opinions, exchange of information through various special services is under way," – Bogdanov said answering the question whether Russia receives any information on this matter from the Syrian authorities.

"There are hundreds of mercenaries, militants from different countries, and from European countries, from the USA, and there are citizens of Russia, formally, but who act as militants of illegal armed formations," he said.

Russia plans to bring up the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program at a session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ministerial meeting scheduled to take place in Kyrgyzstan on July 12-13, in which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will participate, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The upcoming session will open the final phase of preparations for a SCO summit in Bishkek on September 13.

The ministers will discuss the summit's agenda and draft documents to be submitted for it.

One of the key documents to be adopted at the summit is the Bishkek Declaration, which should consolidate joint approaches toward the SCO's further development and coordinated assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, Syria, and the Middle East as well as of the Iranian nuclear program.

"Another document on which the ministers will be working is an action plan for 2013-2017 toward the implementation of the SCO Treaty on Long-Term Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation," the Foreign Ministry said.

After the SCO foreign ministers agree upon a new version of a model memorandum on obligations to be undertaken by a country bidding for SCO membership and the procedure for granting such a status, this document will also be submitted to the SCO heads of state for endorsement, it said.

"This would open up good prospects for launching the process of the organization's enlargement," it said.

Source: Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, RUVR

M. Wassouf