Lavrov to RT: ‘We are not in the business of regime change’


Lavrov believes that West governments, which tend to pursue immediate intervention, have missed many opportunities to actually help end the crisis in Syria. This is as Russia made several bids to find a peaceful solution for the violence, but was undermined by those unwilling to respect the agreements.

“Some of the regional players were suggesting to us: ‘Why don't you tell President Assad to leave? We will arrange for some safe haven for him,’” Lavrov revealed, adding that if indeed those who suggested this had this in mind, they should have taken it directly to Assad.

“Why shall they use us as a postman? If President Assad is interested – this must be discussed directly with him,” he stressed.

Lavrov also commented on why NATO was so eager to deploy Patriot missiles on Turkey's border with Syria – and which country was the actual target.

While many analysts say the Patriot system's deployment in Turkey suggests that it could be targeted at Iran, Lavrov confirmed that “the configuration as it is being presented in the media really looks like it could be used against Iran.”

Stay tuned for the full interview with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, December 24.



Putin: Ban on US Adoptions is ‘Adequate Reaction’

During the annual big conference at the International Trade Center in Krasnaya Presnya, 20 December 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists' questions.

Answering the first question at his annual international press conference in Moscow, Vladimir Putin said he supported the ban on US adoptions of Russian children, according to RT.

The question dealt with the ban on adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens, approved by Lower House in second reading as part of a package of measures drafted as retaliation to the US Magnitsky Act.

Putin answered that the Magnitsky Act should be prioritized as it is a deliberately unfriendly move aimed against Russia.

They replace one anti-Russian law with another and this indicates that our foreign partners are living in the past and intend to maintain the relations rooted in the standoff between the two systems, he stated.

As for the adoption ban Putin said that to his knowledge, the majority of Russians disapprove of foreign adoptions. He added that he fully agreed with Prime Minister Medvedev who said that Russia should develop its own adoption system.

The President said the amendment is not against adoptions, but it’s a measure against the US courts and laws that prevent proper control over adopted children by Russian diplomats. Putin called such practice a humiliation and noted that no one should tolerate such an attitude.

I think the answer from the State Duma is very emotional but still adequate, the President concluded.

With December 21, 2012 quickly approaching, the President’s critics joke:“Putin promises too much. He must know for sure when the world will end.” The date picked for his media conference – just a day before the rumored ‘doomsday’ – was also subject of ironic comments.

“I know when the end of the world will come,” Putin stated. “In about 4.5 billion years,” he said, adding that the sun’s life is expected to end by then and the “reactor will turn off.” But before that, the sun will become a white dwarf, the President observed.

Decision on South Ossetia, Abkhazia independence irreversibleSpeaking about Moscow-Tbilisi relations, Putin said that Georgia’s incumbent President Mikhail Saakashvili brought the situation to a deadlock.

“To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to get out of it,” he admitted. “But we would really like to normalize relations with Georgia.”

Putin stressed that Russia cannot change its decision on the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Georgian leadership refuses to recognize the two republics independence and keeps accusing Russia of “occupying” their territory.

Moscow welcomes the positive signals coming from Georgia after the power shift following the parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic, Vladimir Putin said.


Russia reiterates firm stance towards crisis in Syria

MOSCOW,(ST)-Michael Bugdanov,the Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister ,meets on Wednesday Syria's ambassador to Moscow Riyad Hadad.

Talks dealt with latest developments in Syria.

During the meeting, both sides exchanged frank views on the current situation in Syria ."Russia reiterated its firm stance as regards a rapid political solution to the crisis in Syria on the base of Geneva statement, "said Russian Foreign Ministry.

For his part,Alexie Pushkov,Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affaires,made it clear that the US and what so-called "friends of Syria "signed Geneva statement in one hand and arming and funding armed groups in another hand.

"They(the US and "friends of Syria" )behind the failure of UN ex-envoy Kofi Annan's plan,"Pushkov asserted.



Syria confronts extremists, says India's Ambassador in Damascus

DAMASCUS,(ST)_Syria is confronting extremist movements that do not respect Man's life, India's Ambassador in Damascus V.P.Haran said on Tuesday.

In a cordial speech delivered on the occasion of concluding his task as an ambassador to Syria, Haran said the Syrian people are able to move towards peace and realize development and national reconciliation despite current crisis.

"India accords much attention to events taking place in Syria through its work in the UN Security Council", the ambassador said, noting that he explained to his country's foreign ministry the real image of the events in Syria.

Indian Foreign Ministry has been getting information directly via  the embassy in Damascus, not through  the media means .

Despite the current crisis, India's cooperation relation with Syria has developed, especially in field of education through offering scholarships, Haran said.

Haran was submitted a memorial gift as an appreciation for his effort to cement ties between the two countries (Syria and India).

The gift was given by Deputy Foreign Minister, Ahmad Arnos, who gave a speech in which he underscored the strong historical relations between the two friendly countries in all domains.

"Syria and India share the belief that Syria would be safe and strong as it was before," said Arnos, thanking India for all its efforts in the UN Security Council and international and regional activities and its support for international principles of non-intervention in countries' internal affairs.

Number of friendly countries' ambassadors attended the reception organized by the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on the occasion of the Indian ambassador mission's end in  Syria.


Veteran Journalist Says The Media Is Totally Misreporting What's Happening In Syria


Veteran war correspondent Patrick Cockburn of The Independent has been in Damascus for 10 days and says he is "struck by the fact that the situation in areas of Syria I have visited is wholly different from the picture given to the world both by foreign leaders and by the foreign media."

Last week NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Syrian government was on the brink of collapse, and there have been multiple reports that terrorists  are closing in on the capital .

But the "best informed Syrians and foreign diplomats" told Cockburn that recent attacks on the capital have been "thrown back by a government counteroffensive.

Cockburn drove north 100 miles to Homs and found that all but the Old City of Syria's third largest city is in government control. And the director of the military hospital covering much of southern Syria told him that the number of wounded arriving every day "indicates sniping, assassinations and small-scale ambushes, but not a fight to the finish."

Prepared by :M.D

French Journalist Discloses Secret Meetings Between French officials and Islamic Movements leaders

PARIS,(ST)_ French writer and journalist Georges Malbrunot  disclosed secret meetings  held in Geneva which included a high-level official in the French Foreign Ministry ,  most prominent leaders of the Islamic movements in the Arab world and opposition leaders  of the West- Arab backed regimes.

In an article in his blog in  Le Figaro newspaper on Monday , the writer  stated that six meetings were held  including   deputy director of North Africa and the Middle East department  at the French Foreign Ministry and  diplomats from Germany, Spain and Norway during 2008 and 2009 under the auspices of  A  Swiss nongovernmental  called  “Human Dialogue”, adding that these diplomats held talks with the Islamists since a long time.  The French writer said  that these information were confirmed  in Geneva  by a Swiss diplomat.

He continued that  on behalf of the Islamists , the meetings were attended  by officials from the Moroccan  freedom and justice party, which is currently presiding over the Moroccan government , Tunisians representing  al-Nahda ( Renaissance) party, members of the Muslim brotherhood group in Syria, representatives  for the Hamas movement and Lebanese figures.

"We seek to persuade Islamists to accede to   power through the ballot box, adding that our interlocutors actually accepted this idea." Malbrunot quoted one of the participants in these regular meetings  which lasted for one year.

The writer added, "that in the beginning of 2008  the French diplomacy established secret  communication channels with the Palestinian Hamas movement, but this communication was stopped by the Elysee after uncovered by the newspaper Le Figaro," pointing out that since 2003  the European Union considers Hamas  a terrorist organization.

He concluded  that the multiple meetings in Switzerland strengthen the position of  supporters  of dialogue with Hamas, noting  that the international community set a precondition to  open a dialogue with Hamas to honor  to three conditions :  Recognize Israel , respect the Oslo agreements and renounce terrorism .


T. Fateh

Panthers Party holds protest against Obama, Asks Obama to hands off Syria




NEW DELHI, (ST)_ Hundreds of Panthers Party activists held a massive demonstration in front of US Embassy, Chanakyapuri at New Delhi (India), burning effigy of US President, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama against his draconian policy against the government headed by President, Dr. Bashar-al-Assad and the people of Syria.

According to  a press release received by the Syria Times Editor-in-Chief  Tuesday, The Panthers Party activists led by its Chief Patron, Prof. Bhim Singh and other senior leaders condemned Obama administration for threatening the security and the sovereignty of Syria, a Member State.

The Panthers Party accused Obama administration for trying to repeat Iraq, Libya in the Middle-East to please the Zionist lobby in the USA thus threatening peace in South-East Asia.

In a letter addressed President Obama, which was delivered at the US Embassy, the Panthers Party Supremo, Prof. Bhim Singh warned Mr. Obama for interfering in the internal affairs of Syria which shall not be allowed as President Bush had done in Iraq and later Obama himself did in Libya.

The Panthers Party leader welcomed the leadership of Russian Federation and China for taking a tough stand against the US vis-à-vis Syria. The Panthers Party demanded implementation of UN Resolutions 242, 338 and others asking Israel to vacate all Arab lands without any delay.

The Panthers Party activists raised slogans asking Obama to hands off Syria, hands off Middle-East and give peace a chance. The Panthers Party also expressed solidarity with the people of Syria and President Dr. Bashar-al-Assad.

The Panthers Party urged Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India to take urgent initiative to convene NAM countries meeting in consultation with Iran to save South-East Asia from nuclear holocaust.






Peacekeeping mission in Syria impossible ,says Gatilov




MOSCOW,(ST)-The UN is considering the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Syria, but this operation cannot be implemented without a ceasefire between the sides, says Russia’s Vice Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.

“There is neither peace [in Syria] for peacekeepers to keep, nor truce for them to monitor,” Gatilov told Interfax agency on Monday.

Earlier, it was reported the UN was planning to send up to 10,000 peacekeepers to Syria as an emergency measure.

According to the Russian Deputy FM, the UN contingency plan has been talked about over for some time as part of efforts for a settlement of the crisis in Syria. However, only the Security Council can give the go-ahead and only if certain conditions are met. In particular, the “receiving party” – the Syrian government – has to give its consent to the intervention.

The government has repeatedly opposed to the idea of peacekeepers as “there is no clear separation line between the conflicting sides” and the opposition forces get increasing military and financial support from outside the country,” Gatilov pointed out.

Moscow considers attempts to push resolutions authorizing the use of force in Syria – including those involving peacekeepers – through the UN Security Council as “unacceptable.”

“Our position is based on the need to observe the international law and to take into account historic experience,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said. “One-sided logic, as was the case with Iraq, as well as deliberate violations and free interpretations of UN resolutions, as was the case in Libya,” only seriously aggravate the situation, he added.

Prepared By:M.D