Russian, UK foreign ministers discuss Syria, Geneva II


MOSCOW- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a telephone conversation with his British colleague William Hague on Monday to discuss the situation in Syria and the preparation of the Geneva II conference on the resolution of the crisis in Syria, according to ITAR TASS.

 “The sides exchanged views on the situation in Syria, including in the context of the efforts to prepare the international conference Geneva II,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“The ministers also discussed some other pressing international and bilateral issues,” it added.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to continue efforts to convene an international conference on Syria, known as Geneva II.

 “It is important that we continue to pursue, to convene a Geneva conference as soon as possible. This political resolution, political solution, is the only viable option at this time,” Ban said.

 “This political ... solution, is the only viable option at this time,” Ban said and vowed that he and Brahimi, would “continue to work very closely together with the United States and Russia, who were the original initiators of this.”


In the Name of Love and Nonviolence, Let Us Strive to Heal Syria

An open letter to the American people from Nobel Peace Laureate

My dear friends,

As a teenager living in Belfast, I admired the American Peace Movement and many prominent figures within it. Fifty years later, two of the most inspiring people still remembered across the world are Americans: Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day.

American peace activists and civil rights workers were imprisoned, some killed. But a generation spoke and sang about love.

Like Mahatma Gandhi in India, the Berrigan Brothers in the Peace Movement and the American Civil Rights Movement show us that the path to freedom and equality is a peaceful one. This journey of transformation in the pursuit of peace and justice is a constant challenge to the entrenched powers which thrive on hatred and war; acting as a constant challenge to blind prejudice and the lies that are necessary for war.

In making this journey of love we must always acknowledge that those we regard as enemies are fellow human beings and we are called to love them. If we don't, when do the killing fields stop?

I first came to you from Northern Ireland to speak to you about what was happening in my country. I was met with great kindness in America. Now I write to you to about Syria.

We must not allow a war to go on for decades, as many did in regards to Ireland. We must have the foresight to stand up for peace, nonviolence and reconciliation now, before the suffering is entrenched and before prejudices and lies seep deeply into the consciousness of a new generation, acting as seeds for more yet more war.

I write to you to ask your help for the people of Syria. All the people of Syria deserve your attention. Like you, they want the opportunity to live, love and labor in support of their children's dreams. With your efforts we can make it a bright future in a peaceful and prosperous country where love will conquer all.

The people of Syria are a diverse people, a courageous and generous people with a proud history of tolerance. Over many centuries, their country has welcomed millions of disparate people seeking refuge just as the United States has done.

I visited Syria in May 2013. Despite the on-going violence, I found it to be a land of hope. I met tribal and religious leaders, political dissidents and grieving parents and widows. In Syria, there are millions of ordinary folk risking their lives for a peaceful, reconciled and united Syria they can all love.

Mother Agnes Mariam, one of the leaders of the Mussalaha (reconciliation) Movement in Syria, is on a speaking tour of America this November. Mother Agnes Mariam has sat at a table with the prime minister of Syria. And recently she risked her life to negotiate the safe passage of thousands of civilians and of many fighters from a conflict zone.

Your heroes, the heroes we all uphold, show us bridges of nonviolence and peace must be built between people. War stems from hatred and lies. Peace requires courage, wisdom, and love. And foresight.

Mother Agnes is bringing to America a universal message your country knows well. She presents it through the story of Syria. I encourage you to hear the story of Syria.


Mairead Maguire

Source: Common


Washington, Baghdad Discussed Crisis in Syria, Fighting Terrorism

WASHINGTON,(ST)_ U.S. President Barack Obama  discussed with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki means  to deal with al-Qaeda terrorist organization  in Iraq.

AFP quoted  Obama as saying to reporters after meeting at the White House with Maliki yesterday that  they had discussed  "bilateral coordination to address this terrorist organization, " pointing out that his country supports the idea of establishing " a united , democratic and prosperous Iraq ."

Earlier in the day ,  al - Maliki said in a speech before the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington that " the world  has to maintain dialogue and  unite efforts in order not to  enable al- Qaeda  win  in any country of the world."

A joint statement issued after the meeting between Obama and al - Maliki  said that "the US and Iraq have agreed on the urgent need to provide  additional equipments for the  Iraqi forces to combat al-Qaeda in remote parts of Iraq."

The statement confirmed the Iraqi delegation desire to  " to buy U.S. equipment as a means of strengthening relations with the US for the Long run  and confirmed  commitment to strict adherence  to American laws and rules governing the use of these equipment ."

Zebari , Kerry discussed  crisis in Syria , fighting  terrorism

Meanwhile,  Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry discussed  in Washington, the developments of the crisis in Syria and  its grave repercussions on Iraq and the region.

A statement by the Iraqi Foreign Affairs  Ministry read that , "the two sides discussed ongoing    international and Arab  diplomatic efforts to convene  an international conference on Syria , the challenges faced by the Conference and Iraq's role in achieving peace and stability ",  adding  it was agreed to continue communication and consultation between the two sides ."

"The two sides also discussed several  issues of common concern and stressed the importance of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and al-Qaeda  organization." The statement added.


T. Fateh 

Russia interested in Japan’s participation in Geneva-2 - Lavrov


Russia hails Japan’s intention to take part in the Geneva-2 conference on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after two-plus-two talks on Saturday.

“The main task on the Syrian track for the entire world community is to convene a Geneva-2 conference as soon as possible,” Lavrov said. “There has been too much gambling around this initiative that Russia and the United States put forward. Too many attempts to disrupt this initiative, or at least to distort its meaning and to make it follow an unrealistic course and eventually bring it to a dead end",according to Voice of Russia, TASS, RIA.

“In a situation like this we very much appreciate the positions of those countries which consistently support this initiative by Moscow and Washington without any preconditions in its original form. Japan is one of such countries. We confirmed that we would be very much interested to see its participation in Geneva-2.

Mr. Kishida thanked Russia for supporting Japan's wish to participate in the Geneva conference.

Moscow hopes US-Japanese relations to create no problems for Russia - Lavrov

Moscow hopes that relations between the United States and Japan will not pose any problems to Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after two-plus-two format talks between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries on Saturday.

“The two-plus-two format is not an encroachment on Japan’s relations with the United States or with any other country. We hope that the United States’ relations with Japan will not pose problems to Russia, either,” Lavrov said. “It is our fundamental principle to never make friends with any country to the detriment of somebody else. It is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy to ensure not a single country should feel discomfort or risks to its security.”

Lavrov said “this is precisely why Russia has been pressing for the establishment of a new architecture in the Asia-Pacific Region that would rely on non-bloc principles and the idea that no country shall maintain its own security at the expense of others.”

 “The principle of indivisibility of security has not been translated into action yet, which is seen in the United States’ plans for creating a global missile defense,” Lavrov said. “I see the main meaning of the two-plus-two format in advancing the dialogue over the problem of security in the Asia-Pacific Region in a great variety of aspects and in fostering a climate of confidence and strengthening relations of trust between Russia and Japan.”


Russia will soon decide on Syria chemical arms disposal funding - top diplomat

A decision concerning Russia's possible financial contribution to the efforts to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles may be adopted in the near future,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

"We are currently considering the issue of our financial involvement in the process of disposing of Syrian [chemical] weapons. A decision on this matter is expected to be made in the near future," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

When asked whether Russia could provide some infrastructure along with financial aid, Gatilov said that "so far, nothing can be said for certain."

"Different departments are working on this issue," he added.


Russia favors holding Geneva-2 conference on Syria by end of Nov 2013

MOSCOW- Russia favors holding the Geneva-2 conference on Syria by the end of November 2013, just as was planned originally, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

"As for setting particular dates for holding the Geneva conference, we believe this issue is within UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's purview. At the same time, we reaffirm that it would be good to hold the conference in Geneva at the planned time, by the end of November this year," Bogdanov said in an interview for Bloomberg, posted on the Foreign Ministry website on Thursday.

 The process of destroying Syrian chemical weapons is moving successfully and can realistically be completed by mid 2014, the Russian Foreign Ministry has reported.

"We believe the deadline given to Syria to destroy its chemical weapons arsenals by mid 2014 is quite realistic, of course, on condition that it is provided with effective international assistance," said Mikhail Bogdanov.

OPCW: Syria Scraps all Chemical Equipment

The UN-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has announced that Syria has destroyed all declared equipment for producing, mixing and filling chemical arms. The OPCW has confirmed that the entire declared stock of Syria's chemical weapons was placed in safe locations. Chemical weapons and agents are under tamper proof seals, according to the Voice of Russia.

Reuters has cited an OPCW memo that says the Syrian government has seen to the destruction of declared equipment and facilities.

The message said the chemical arms watchdog was satisfied with the monitoring of the elimination of every piece of equipment needed to produce, mix and fill chemical weapons at 23 facilities across Syria.

International inspectors have placed Syria's entire declared stock of chemical weapons and agents under tamper-proof seal, the world's chemical watchdog said Thursday.

"All stocks of chemical weapons and agents have been placed under seals that are impossible to break," Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) spokesman Christian Chartier told AFP, adding that the seals were "tamper proof".

Syria has sent in a declaration of its chemical weapons activities and facilities, meeting its obligations as a new state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.


Syria’s chemical weapons effectively implemented -Lavrov

The Geneva accords on Syria’s chemical weapons are being effectively implemented despite attempts to disrupt them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday after talks with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos.

"The agreements on Syria’s chemical disarmament are being implemented very effectively, everyone acknowledges that,” he said. “We hope there will be no provocations although attempts are being made to disrupt this process.”

Lavrov urged all who can influence the situation “to prevent the collapse of the crucial process of eliminating a whole arsenal of weapons of mass destruction".

Geneva-2 international conference

"As regards Geneva-2, the situation is somewhat more complicated because there have already been open objections to that conference initiated by Russia and the United States, objections not only from various Syrian factions but also from the capitals of some neighboring and not only neighboring states," Lavrov told a news conference in Athens on Wednesday.

They are making no attempt to conceal that their negative attitude to the Russian-American initiative stems from Washington’s refusal to bomb Syria, he said.

"In other words, those who sought "regime change" and helped voluntarily or involuntarily to create an extremist state there are now unable to hide their emotions," Lavrov said.

He said it surprised him that "Western capitals are reacting fairly weakly to such arrogant statements".

"Now that the Russian-American initiative to convene a conference on the practical implementation of the Geneva Communique is moving over to the practical stage, some of those who gave verbal assurances of their support are beginning to show their real attitude to it," Lavrov said.

Most western leaders knew they were tapped by US - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes most of the key world political leaders were aware of being tapped by US special services, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports.

"I find it a little bit boring to comment on the issue. I am sure that everyone knew or at least suspected. And all that fuss being made about that now is because the things that normally aren’t said in public, have been said openly," Lavrov told reporters in Athens when asked about the Russian leaders’ attitude to reports that many world leaders had been wiretapped.

"Frankly, I take it philosophically, though I do understand all the slyness of the phrase ‘we didn’t do anything that others didn’t do", Lavrov said, commenting on remarks by US officials on the matter, according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.