Solana: Iran's presence in Geneva II conference was necessary

Madrid– Former EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana reiterated that Iran should have taken part in the Geneva II talks, according to IRNA.

I believe that Iran should have participated in the Geneva II conference, although it was still present in the conference despite having physical presence at the conference, Solana said.

I liked Iran to have a clearer presence in Geneva II conference, perhaps not in the first day, but in the next days, because Iran is an important regional player, he added.

Solana stressed that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is through finding diplomatic solution.


Lavrov: Russia studies steps towards overcoming crisis in Syria

MOSCOW-Russia is studying what secular authorities and churches can do in order to overcome the crisis in Syria and calm down the situation in the region, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with Patriarch John X of Antioch on Wednesday, according to ITAR TASS.

 “We value traditional relations between our churches. They help reach accord, which is indispensable in the world and in the Middle East,” Lavrov said.

Mikhail, first metropolitan of Rus, came from Syria, the minister said.

 “Traditional interaction, friendship and brotherly relations between our churches are in demand as never before,” he said, adding that the "Arab Spring" events “affect the fate of Christians, who lived with Arabs in peace and accord over two thousand years”.

 “Today the coexistence, friendship between Orthodox believers and Muslims are under serious tests. Thus, our dialogue is important to prevent the worse scenario,” Lavrov said.

Patriarch John X thanked Russia for its stance on Syria

Patriarch John X of Antioch has thanked Russia for the peace position that the country takes on the situation in Syria.

 “Russia’s position on the Middle East, particularly on Syria and Lebanon, is especially important and it is based on the hard-and-fast guidelines,” the patriarch said at a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.

John X also praised Russia’s humanitarian supplies to Syria. “We’re distributing humanitarian aid to everyone without any difference - to Christians and Muslims. We note the importance of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims and we stand for peace in the region,” the patriarch of Antioch said.

 “Relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Antioch Church are historical and brotherly,” John X said.

Syria should be united and Lebanon should be a stable and safe country to make Christians and Muslims coexist in peace and mutual respect, the patriarch said.

 “We confirm our drive for preserving our roots and staying on the motherland of our ancestors because it is very difficult to imagine the Middle East without Christians,” he said.


Lavrov: Terrorism in Syria Becomes a Threat to Entire World

BRUSSELS- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned of the expansion of terrorism in Syria and of its spillover to other countries, stressing the need to fight this serious treat.

Replying a question by correspondent of the Lebanese As-Safir newspaper in Brussels, Lavrov said: "fighting terrorism in Syria is one of the major tasks of the international conference on Syria, Geneva2," pointing out that the Geneva1 statement of June 30th, 2012 has called on the Syrian government and opposition to be unified to expel terrorists from Syria.

Lavrov said that he noticed "an increasing understanding of this issue by the European partners during his talks with them on the situation in Syria."

Yesterday in Brussels, Lavrov strongly criticized the continuity of sending weapons to the terrorists in Syria, warning that this issue will lead to supporting terrorists in the whole region.

Lavrov was commenting on news unveiling that the US Congress has secretly endorsed a decision to send weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

H. Mustafa 

Declaration on Syrian state's existence should be next step in inter-Syrian dialogue - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has outlined his vision of prospects for the dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.

"The adoption of a declaration on principles of the Syrian state's existence should be the next step in the inter-Syrian dialogue," Lavrov told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.


Obama Urged to Exert Efforts to Guarantee Immediate Stop of Extremists' Flow to Syria


WASHINGTON- Syrian members of the Syrian American Forum (SAF) has recently sent a letter to the White House in which they urged US President Barack Obama to exert the influence and efforts of the United States in order to guarantee an immediate stop to the flow of extremists from other countries to Syria, and an immediate end to smuggling weaponry and providing other kinds of support to terrorists and extremist groups fighting in Syria.

The letter reiterated the forum's support for the ongoing Geneva II conference, calling on the US Secretary of State John Kerry to focus on attaining a political solution to the crisis in Syria. It asserted: “no foreign entity can claim representation of the aspirations of any people" and that "solution must be Syrian and by the Syrians themselves”.

"No country or party should be allowed to hijack the future of the Syrian people by feeding and fueling the current war in Syria”, said the letter, affirming that only the Syrians have the right to decide their future.

The SAF Syrian members also said: "We, as Americans of Syrian origin, believe in separating religion from the authority of the state and believe in democracy and the freedom of religions. We are united in the calls for peace and reconciliation aiming at preserving Syria and stopping the killing and destruction in the country.

H. Mustafa

Brahimi hopes to meet jointly Syrian official delegation and "opposition" Monday

GENEVA-The first convoy to reach the northern city of Homs is expected to reach the city as early as Monday, UN Special envoy to Syria,  Lakhdar Brahimi, announced. "So, hopefully, starting tomorrow women and children will leave the old city," Brahimi told  reporters, adding that other civilians will "hopefully leave soon after that."

Brahimi said that the Syrian official  delegation told him that hundreds of tons of medical and food aid will be allowed to enter  into Homs.

It has also been reported that the Syrian government delegation at peace talks in Geneva had announced the authorities would allow women and children to leave the old district of Homs city straight away.

"What we have been told by the government side is that women and children in the area of the old city are welcome to leave immediately," Brahimi told a news conference after talks with government and "opposition" delegations.

Brahimi also said he would meet the two sides jointly on Monday, when they are expected to discuss opposition demands for the creation of a transitional executive body,according to Voice of Russia, RIA, Reuters .


No talks with terrorists in Syria - Lavrov


Any talks are out of place with terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with weekly program Segodnya (Today) on TV channel NTV on Sunday.

"We refuse to have talks and do not recommend other parties to hold talks with them over principled considerations," Lavrovsaid, according to Voice of Russia.

"This is not only our concerns that extremists and terrorists call the tune increasingly in different Syrian regions, but this is also the position of all Group of Eight states," he added.

Lavrov pointed to the G8 summit in Ireland's Loch Erne in June 2013 where then G8 chair and UK's Prime Minister David Cameron together with Russian President Vladimir Putin backed the call on the rivalling Syrian groups to join their forces and root out terrorism in the country.

"This goal is becoming more of a priority one considering the growing terrorist threat inside Syria, which is already spilling over into Iraq," the Russian foreign policy vet said. He added the neighboring Iraq was now swarming with radicals from the group that calls itself the "Islamic state of Iraq and Levant".

Sergei Lavrov said the situation in Syria and on its borders called for a soonest compromise between the government and "adequate, secular and patriotic opposition" in order for them to unite against the escalating terrorist threat.

The Russian foreign chief said it was hard to imagine any of the three rebel umbrella organizations – "the Islamic Front, al-Nusra and the Islamic state of Iraq" –as viable partners in peace talks because they acted essentially as communicating vessels, with" insurgents" moving freely between the three in search of a better pay.


Brahimi :our ambition is to restore peace and security to Syria

GENEVA, (ST) –"there is terrorism in Syria and that the ambition is to put an end to it, and there is a need to implement  the Geneva1 communiqué, "UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters Sunday in Geneva.

Brahimi hoped the negotiations between the Syrian official and "opposition" delegations would continue and achieve results even if the negotiations last for days or even weeks.

"this afternoon we started to speak about humanitarian affairs and we discussed at length the situation in Homs and the old city of Homs,"Brahimi said after meeting delegations from the Syrian government and "opposition "on the second day of Geneva conference.

Brahimi further added :"we hope that ultimately some convoy of aid ,goods, both food and non-food items and some medical supplies will go into the old city.

Tomorrow, he added, the issue of exchanging detainees and abductees and whether something can be achieved in this regards will be discussed.

Brahimi said that every side has expressed its views, adding that "the situation is extremely complex , describing what happened today as a "good beginning".We are moving not in steps ,but even half steps.

He said the ambition is to end the war in Syria and restore peace and safety to the Syrian people.

He highlighted that there is terrorism in Syria and that many countries have deep worries over the spread of this terrorism to other countries, adding that implementing Geneva1 communiqué, which is the "basic issue that we have come here and gathered for", will be discussed.