UN Chief urges the council to use its authority for peace

MOSCOW-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisted Wednesday on the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria and urged the UN Security Council to “unite,” as Western nations apparently geared up for military measures against Damascus, according to RIAQ Novosti.

 “We must pursue all avenues to get the parties to the negotiating table,” Ban Ki-moon said in a speech delivered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, home to the UN's International Court of Justice.

Speaking about the current situation in the UN Security Council, which is divided on a solution to the crisis in Syria, he said: “The body entrusted with maintaining international peace and security cannot be missing in action.”

 “The Council must use its authority for peace,” he said, adding the UN inspectors currently in Syria should be given more time to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus.


British draft of UN SC resolution on Syria tactical move to justify military operation,says Pushkov

The draft of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria prepared by the UK is a tactical move to justify a military operation against the country, Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Head Alexei Pushkov said.

"London and Washington said that they wanted to "fully legitimatize" the carrying out of a military strike against Syria. If [British Prime Minister David] Cameron proposes that such a resolution be passed by the Security Council, this is a tactical move. They have guessed the results of their proposal, nevertheless, the mere act of addressing the Security Council is important for them," Pushkov told Interfax on Wednesday.

The essence of London's initiative is to begin a military operation against Syria and refer to the fact that an attempt to raise the issue with the UN Security Council had been made, Pushkov said.

"They want to show that they will not ignore the UN Security Council. It is even possible to predict the situation's further development. If the resolution proposed by London is rejected, the United States and the United Kingdom will insist that they are certain that they are correct and that it is necessary to strike Syria," Pushkov said.

Meanwhile,Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said he regretted the decision to cancel talks that would have been "especially helpful right now, when military action is hanging over this country."

However,Russia warned earlier Tuesday that US military intervention in Syria could have "catastrophic consequences" for the region and called on the international community to show "prudence" over the crisis.

Russia’s top diplomat disagreed with his US counterpart in a phone conversation about the situation in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported Tuesday.

“Lavrov … rejected such an assessment and cited relevant arguments on the Russian side,” the statement said.

Sources:Voice of Russia, AFP, RIA, The Guardian


China to ensure quality, steady growth: gov't report

  BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- China will work to ensure quality and steady economic growth in the second half of 2013 by boosting demand, industrial upgrading and reforms, according to a government report.

According to the State Council's report on the implementation of China's economic and social development plan, to improve the quality and efficiency of the country's economic development will remain a "central task" in the second half of the year.

China will maintain the consistency and stability of its macroeconomic policies and continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, the report says.

The report was delivered to a plenary meeting of the National People's Congress(NPC) Standing Committee Wednesday. Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, attended the meeting.

China's economic growth, which was boosted by strong domestic demand in the first six months of the year, was higher than expected, said Xu Shaoshi, who delivered the report on behalf of the State Council on Wednesday.

China's economic growth hit 7.6 percent in the first six months, higher than the 7.5 percent target, said Xu, who is the head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.

He said the government's annual economic growth target of 7.5 percent this year can be achieved through hard work.

When briefing about the country's other economic achievements this year, the official said China saw a "moderate and controllable" rise in the consumer price index (CPI), a main measure of inflation, and the job market was "generally stable."


Brahimi: US Intervention Needs UN Approval

 GENEVA- UN Special Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that any US military action against Syria under the pretext of using chemical weapons attacks in the country would need to be approved by the UN Security Council.

"I think international law is clear on this. International law says that military action must be taken after a decision by the Security Council. That is what international law says," he told a press conference in Geneva.

"I must say that I do know that President Obama and the American administration are not known to be trigger-happy. What they will decide I don't know. But certainly International Law is very clear."

No Alternative to Political Diplomatic Settlement in Syria

Any attempts to use force in Syria will result in a further destabilization in Syria and the region in general. This came in a statement by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was speaking on the phone Wednesday with the UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, according to the Voice of Russia.

Lavrov pointed out there is no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement in Syria, adding that an attempted use of force could only result in further destabilization in Syria and the rest of the region.

 The two sides, that agreed that the situation has become critical to all parties of the conflict, including outside players, should act responsibly and try to avoid the mistakes of the past.

The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the situation around Syria has been drastically aggravated by the recent moves and statements of some countries.

H. Mustafa

US Using ‘Unproven Excuses’ For Armed Action in Syria – Moscow

MOSCOW– Russia slammed the United States on Tuesday for allegedly using “unproven excuses” to justify military action in Syria and said Moscow is “seriously disappointed” by Washington’s decision to put off a bilateral meeting to discuss the crisis there.

US Secretary of State John Kerry's statement  Monday “categorically claims that the US has the ‘undeniable proof’ about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, although the ‘data’ has not been presented,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said,according to RIA Novosti.

“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, to once again create artificial, unproven excuses for an armed intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa,” Lukashevich said in the statement posted on the Foreign Ministry's website.

Moscow also said it was “seriously disappointed” with the White House’s decision to put off a meeting between Russian and US diplomats scheduled for Wednesday in The Hague to discuss the situation in Syria.

 “Moscow perceives Washington’s decision to postpone this meeting literally on the eve of the agreed-upon date with serious disappointment,” Lukashevich said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

A senior Russian diplomat said earlier Tuesday that Moscow regretted what he called the cancellation of the meeting. “[Our] partners’ decision to cancel the Russia-US bilateral meeting to discuss the matter of assembling an international conference on Syria causes regret,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in a tweet.


Conversation between Putin, Cameron focused on situation in Syria - Kremlin press service

Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron had a phone conversation on Monday to discuss the situation in Syria, the Russian president's press service told Interfax.

"The conversation focused on the situation in Syria in the light of the media reports on the possible use of chemical weapons near Damascus," the press service said.

The Kremlin said the conversation was on Cameron's initiative.


Hysteria around chemical attack suits those who want military intervention in Syria - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday any military intervention in Syria without a mandate from the United Nations would be a grave violation of international law. Lavrov appealed at a news conference to the United States and other Western powers to avoid "past mistakes" by intervening in Syria,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax, AFP.

Following last week’s chemical attack, the West has engineered a media campaign to facilitate a military incursion, says Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The diplomat also cast doubts on the veracity of US and European claims about the incident.

 “Official Washington, London and Paris say they have" incontrovertible evidence" that the Syrian government is behind the chemical attack in Damascus, but they have not yet presented this evidence. Yet, they keep saying that the ‘red line’ has been crossed,” Lavrov said during an emergency press conference in Moscow.

 “Now, we are hearing calls for a military campaign against the Syrian government.”

In his conference, Lavrov questioned the" rebel" version of events.

 “There is information that videos were posted on the internet hours before the purported attack, and other reasons to doubt the "rebel" narrative.”

 “Those involved with the incident wanted to sabotage the upcoming Geneva peace talks. Maybe that was the motivation of those who created this story. The opposition obviously does not want to negotiate peacefully.”

Lavrov says is sure attacks on UN inspectors will be blamed on Syria gov't

Western force against Syria will be terrible mistake, which will lead to even more bloody stages of armed conflict, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov said.

John Kerry vows to weight arguments against use of armed force in syria, to call lavrov back in a few days, Lavrov said.

Action to intimidate syria has already begun, similar to what was against iraq ten years ago, Sergei Lavrov said.

NATO statements it can go into Syria to destroy chemical arms without un go-ahead mean it's embarking on dangerous path

Sergei Lavrov says John Kerry assured him was committed to make sure Syrian "opposition" arrives to Geneva conference in constructive frame of mind.

Russia says West has no proof for Syria weapons claims

The West has been unable to produce any evidence to back claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday, adding that threats of military action against Damascus went against G8 agreements.

"They (the West) have not been able to come up with any proof but are saying at the same time that the red line has been crossed and there can be no delay," Lavrov said.


British MPs Warn against Military Intervention in Syria

LONDON- British MP Sara Wollaston of the Conservatives Party has warned British Prime Minister David Cameron against intervention in Syria, stressing that military intervention will be developed into an international conflict.

The "Financial Times" quoted Wollaston as saying that "the British House of Common should be convened before adopting any decision about military intervention not after."

Bob Stewart, another Conservative MP, said Cameron may find no justification for intervention if the House of Common isn't allowed to vote on a decision of this kind.

For his part, Lord Ashdown, a former leader of the Democratic Liberal Party expressed deep concern over the attempt to lead Britain into limitless conflict.

He criticized British Foreign Minister William Hague for blaming the Syrian government for the alleged chemical attack in Damascus Countryside without having tangible and objective evidence.

Ashdown warned that the situation in Syria may have more complicated geopolitical impacts than before.

H. Mustafa