OPCW to make public plan on chemicals elimination in Syria December 17

UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATION_ A detailed plan on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria will be made public by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) December 17, the U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said,according to ITAR TASS.

It is timely to talk about the contents of the document, he said.

Under the OPCW plan, chemical weapons should be withdrawn from Syria till February 5, 2014. The most dangerous agents will be eliminated outside Syria not later than March 31. The other substances will be eliminated not later than June 30, 2014. Toxic agents are planning to be eliminated at sea aboard a specially equipped ship due to be provided by the United States.


Russia to adhere to peaceful settlement in Syria

MOSCOW_ Moscow intends to adhere to a peaceful settlement in Syria and urges its partners to follow suit, the Foreign Ministry said.

 “We will continue to act in accordance with our position of principle in support of peaceful settlement in Syria through Geneva II to be convened on January 22, 2014 and a broad inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012. We remain committed to all adopted international decisions and agreements on this matter, including the relevant provisions of the Final Document of the G8 leaders in Lough Erne,” the ministry said,according to ITAR TASS.

The ministry hopes that “all of our international and regional partners will act likewise.”

The next trilateral meeting to prepare the international conference on Syria known as Geneva II will be held December 20, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations for the crisis in Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said.


Putin: Russia's Syria Stances Based on International Law Principles

MOSCOW- Russia's steps intended to help settle the Syrian conflict have been "well-judged and reasonable", and the latest developments surrounding Syria confirm the possibility of resolving any international problems peacefully, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday, according to the Voice of Russia.

"In my opinion, it is our shared success that the choice was made on the basis of the fundamental principles of international law, common sense and the logic of peace. At least thus far we have managed to avoid foreign military intervention in Syrian affairs and the spread of the conflict beyond the region," Putin said.

Russia "made quite a significant contribution to this process," the president said.

"Our actions have been resolute, well-judged and reasonable. Not a single time we have put either our own interests and security or global security in danger. In my opinion, this is the way a mature and responsible power should act," Putin said.

"As a result, we and our partners managed to turn the situation there away from war and toward the development of a nationwide Syrian political process and the achievement of civil reconciliation," the president said.

" Syria reaffirmed the UN's central role in global politics. As the situation around Syria and around Iran today has shown, any international problem can and should be resolved exclusively by peaceful means, without resorting to military actions, which have no prospects, but only serve to cause denunciation by the majority of countries in the world," Putin said.

Russia seeks to be a world leader but does not aspire to super-power status

 Russia will be a leader but will not lecture other states on how they should live, President Vladimir Putin said. "We will aspire to be a leader by protecting international law and insisting upon respect for national sovereignty, independence and uniqueness of peoples," Putin said in his address presented at the Federal Assembly.

"We have always been proud of our country, yet we do not aspire to super-power status, which is understood as a claim to global or regional hegemony. We are not encroaching on anyone's interests, we are not pushing our patronage on anyone and we are not trying to lecture anyone on how one should live," he stressed.

Western missile defense system is defensive only in name

The true goals of the missile defense system being built by Western countries do not correspond with its name, the Russian President said.

 "We are perfectly aware that missile defense systems are defensive only in name. In fact, this is a significant component of a strategic offensive potential," Putin added.

Putin also urged peaceful atomic energy guarantees for Iran.


Russia insists on Iran's participation in Geneva-2 - Lavrov

Russia insists on Iran's participation in the conference on settling the ongoing conflict in Syria, known as Geneva-2, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports.

"Undeniably, Iran is among those that can have a positive effect on what is going on in Syria," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif in Tehran.

"For the Geneva conference to be successful, all those who can influence the situation and who are influencing the situation at the moment should take part in it. And it is important to gather all these representatives at one table so as to build a team of likeminded people," he said.

This is a precondition for using "the influence that many countries currently have on what is going on in Syria in order to stop the bloodshed," he said.

Attempts to disrupt Geneva-2 would grossly violate international community's will - Sergei Lavrov

The Western countries are beginning to realize the importance of Iran's participation in the international conference on Syria, known as Geneva-2, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports.

"In my contacts with my Western counterparts and those from the countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa, I am beginning to feel their growing understanding of the importance of inviting all key players, including Iran," Lavrov said at a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

Invitations to Geneva-2 to be sent out by end of year - Lavrov

Iran should be among those invited to the Geneva-2 international conference on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports. "I hope that Iran will definitely be on the list of those to whom invitations for Geneva-2 will be sent, which should be done by the end of the year," Lavrov said at a news conference in Tehran.

"In order for the Geneva conference to succeed, all those who influence and can influence the situation in Syria should participate in it. It is important to gather all representatives at one table in order to use the influence that many countries have on what is happening in Syria in order to stop the bloodshed," Lavrov said.

 "Iran is definitely among those who can have positive impact on what is happening in Syria," the Russian minister said.

Attempts to disrupt Geneva-2 would grossly violate int'l community's will - Lavrov

Attempts to disrupt the international conference on Syria, known as Geneva-2, would be a gross violation of the international community's will, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports.

"The date of the conference has already been announced, and attempts to disrupt this event would be a gross violation of the international community's will," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif in Tehran on Wednesday.

Lavrov asks that broader interpretation of P5+1 agreement with Iran be avoided

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has asked that broader interpretations of the agreements reached between the P5+1 group and Tehran on the Iranian nuclear program be avoided, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports.

"In my opinion, the main thing is to do what has been agreed on, not to give broader or narrower interpretations of the agreements declared in this document and, at the same time, which is very important, to begin consultations on the parameters of the final package, which will dot the i's and settle the problem once and for all," he told a press conference in Iran.

Russia interested in cooperating with Iran on civilian use of nuclear energy- Lavrov

Russia and Iran are determined to continue cooperation in the development of peaceful utilization of nuclear energy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KsenyaMelnikova reports.

"We are interested in continuing interaction with Iran towards the development of a peaceful nuclear energy industry. We see such interest on the Iranian side, and we know about Iran's plans to build more power units identical to the Bushehr one operating a light-water reactor, which, as I would like to stress, is not banned by any UN Security Council resolution," Lavrov said following negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif in Tehran on Wednesday.

Zarif said at the same press conference, "We have had very good negotiations with our Russian counterparts on the development of cooperation on the reactor and nuclear plant. We have approached a final agreement and hope that we will be able to develop our cooperation in these sectors so as to ensure the diversity of energy resources in our country for producing fresh water. This combines the areas in which we cooperate with our Russian partners," Zarif said.


Geneva-2 Conference Will Hopefully Guarantee Syria's Territorial Integrity- Vatican

VATICAN-The International Conference on Syria (Geneva-2) will hopefully come up with guarantees that maintain Syria's safety and territorial integrity, a Vatican official has said.

Quoted by the Italian news agency (AKI) as saying, President of the Pontifical Council  in the Vatican, Cardinal Robert Sarah said "the church hopes that the conference, which will be held on January 22, 2014, in Geneva, will guarantee the safety and of the Syrian lands," stressing that there is an area for all in Syria, particularly the Christians.

Cardinal Sara pointed out that from the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, the Vatican has been following up the developments in the country and working hard to provide humanitarian assistance to affected people so as to attain peace there.

The Vatican official hoped that all Syrian concerned parties will put an end to violence as soon as possible to serve everlasting peace agreed upon by all.

Pope Farncis had repeatedly called for attaining peace in Syria.

H. M


Lavrov arrives in Iran for Syria and nuclear talks

Russia’s foreign chief Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Tehran for talks on a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six international mediators, as well as on a Syria peace conference.

The visit comes after Tehran signed an interim 6-month agreement in late November where it pledged to scrap uranium enrichment over 5 percent and destroy its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium. The deal has also prohibited the Islamic republic to put new centrifuges on line and frozen all work on its heavy water reactor in Arak.

Moscow said it had faith in Iran’s commitment to cooperate with the international nuclear watchdog IAEA,according to Voice of Russia.

The Russian foreign office has underscored on several occasions that the Iranian accord will undoubtedly improve the situation in the Middle East and help the international community overcome the “dangerous bias towards forceful methods” that has come to the fore over the last years.

During his two-day visit to Iran, Sergei Lavrov is expected to discuss the outlooks for a Syria peace conference with the country’s senior authorities. The Kremlin has long been seeking to put Iran, as a country of influence in the region, at the negotiating table in Geneva.

Up for discussion will also be a bunch of important bilateral topics, including cooperation in such sectors as trade, economy and military technologies, as well as Afghan drug trafficking and the upcoming Caspian summit that Russia is going to host in autumn 2014.

Lavrov will hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in meetings scheduled Wednesday, Iran’s foreign ministry said.

Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters Tuesday that the visit was in line with the close cooperation between Tehran and Moscow and that it would include “bilateral, regional and international issues.”



UN Chief Expressed Concern Over Deliberate Attacks on Religious Shrines in Syria

New York - United Nations (ST) - The UN Secretary- General Ban Ki- Moon expressed deep concern over the deliberate attacks on religious shrines in Syria and representatives of the Church , especially the kidnapping of twelve nuns in Mar Takla Maloula town  monastery , in rural  Damascus , demanding the need to preserve the integrity of the  abducted nuns.

The  UN Secretary -General stressed  in a statement read by his spokesman and published by the UN News Centre ,  the UN rejection " to target people on the ground of  their religion or their religious affiliation and ethnicity ."

The  UN statement pointed to the UN Secretary-General joining  appeals to preserve the integrity and safety of all the nuns abducted in Syria , pointing to " the need to protect civilians in various parts of Syria at risk ."

The UN statement expressed  extreme discomfort of targeting places of worship and representatives of religions in Syria, noting that " those fears have been  confirmed recently after the disappearance of the 12 nuns from the Monastery of Saint Mar Takla in Maloula ."

One  terrorist group attacked last  Monday the archaeological town of Maloula in  Rural Damascus whose people  are the ,  the world's only inhabitants still speak the language of Jesus Christ, and carried out acts of sabotage affected churches and houses of innocent civilians , raided the monastery of Mar Takla and detained the head of the monastery mother Blajia Sayyaf and  several  nuns who were working  in the monastery , and attacked its  orphanage .

T. Fateh

Moscow against initiatives on Syria not cleared by UN Security Council -Gatilov

Moscow objects to any initiatives on Syria that are not cleared by the UN Security Council, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said,according to  Voice of Russia, Interfax.

"We are categorically against any initiatives on Syria that have not been previously agreed upon with the UN Security Council members, who are being forced to accept artificial timeframes in working in the humanitarian sector or knowingly carry out unrealizable tasks," Gatilov said at a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

"This activity should be pursued consistently and methodically on an impartial and non-politicized basis, as is dictated by international humanitarian law," the statement says.