Russian, US Officials to Discuss Crisis in Syria




Moscow - New York (ST)_ A source at the Russian Foreign Ministry announced today ( Tuesday) that  Mikhail Bogdanov Russian Deputy  Foreign Minister will discuss with his U.S. counterpart William Burns in London next Thursday developments concerning  the crisis in Syria.

"There is an initial agreement to hold this meeting." The Russian source said.
Meantime,  Russia Permanent Representative at the UN  Vitaly Churkin announced that a new round of consultations between his country and the US on the crisis in Syria will be held  next week, but simultaneously expressed concern over Washington's last  decision to provide the opposition with $ 60 million.

Churkin said in  a press conference held on Monday  at the UN premises devoted to marking the Russian presidency of the UN Security Council that Washington's decision " takes us away from the road"  leading  to the establishment of dialogue between the government and the opposition.

"We are ready to continue contacts with the US  in connection with the situation in Syria and  another meeting will be held to this effect  between Mikhail Bogdanov and William Burns in Europe , next week." He noted
The Russian representative  noted  substantial differences between Russia and the US  to resolve the  crisis in Syria.


T. Fateh





Putin, Hollande discuss situation in Syria, by Telephone

MOSCOW, (ST)_ Press office of the Russian presidency, "Kremlin"  announced that the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande made a telephone call today (Monday) , during which they exchanged views on future cooperation between the two countries at bilateral or multilateral levels to resolve the crisis in Syria.

In a statement the office noted that the telephone call came to complement the results of the recent visit made by the French President to Russia.

In  press  conference, last week  after talks with his French peer in Moscow,  President Putin said   that the international community should prevent the exploitation of extremist groups  and international terrorists of the tragedy in Syria to achieve their goals, stressing that the  terrorist bombing took place near the Russian embassy in Damascus, resulted  in killing many victims, including children and similar acts of  atrocities to be strongly  condemned  by the  international community.

The Russian President   also reiterated his country's  firm adherence to its position towards the situation in Syria, in compliance with International law and legitimacy.


T. Fateh

Ban Ki-moon warns against Syrian disintegration

The UN Secretary General has warned military solution would bring about Syrian disintegration.

Speaking in a press conference yesterday (Friday), Ban Ki-moon called all Syrians to come to negotiation table. “The time for the Syrians is running out in ending the war,” said UN’s Moon, “we strongly support negotiations and encourage all parties in Syria to take the opportunity for granted, since it is running out very rapidly.” ,according to MNA.

Ban Ki-moon will have a meeting with Lakhdar Barahimi, UN Special Envoy to Syria today in Geneva. The US has preferred not to publicize its military help for Syrian terrorist fighters, instead provide medical and nutritional aides for them. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, announced a $ 60m, which excludes lethal weapons, help for "Syrian national Coalition", and providing direct help for "FSA" in food and medicine. "FSA" is a terrorist group, with acts of wanton cruelty.


Hugo Chavez in 'Good Spirits'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in "good spirits" but fighting for his life as he undergoes chemotherapy in a Caracas military hospital, the vice president said.      

Nicolas Madurorejected a wave of rumors about Chavez's health on Friday, and lashed out at the opposition, which accused him of lying about the president's condition, according to FNA.

Maduro disclosed for the first time that Chavez began chemotherapy following his fourth round of cancer surgery in Cuba in December and decided to continue the treatment in Caracas on February 18.

"He has strength that is superior to the treatments that he is receiving and he is in good spirits, battling, receiving his treatments," he told reporters after a mass for Chavez in a new chapel on the hospital grounds named "hope."

When he went into the operating room in Havana on December 11, Maduro recalled, Chavez told his aides that there was a "possibility that he would not come out" alive, but he survived it.

At the end of the year, the 58-year-old leader's condition "worsened" due to a respiratory infection. A tracheal tube was inserted later to assist his breathing.

But after a "general improvement" of his vital organs in January, the Chavez and his doctors in Cuba decided to begin "complementary treatments, which is chemotherapy," the vice president said.

Maduro said that Chavez decided last month to return to Venezuela and told his aides, "I am going to enter a new phase with the complementary treatments, more intense and very difficult, and I want to be in Caracas, so do everything that must be done to return to Caracas in safe conditions".


Lebanese Cardinal Warns against Rise of Fundamentalist Movement




MOSCOW, (ST)_Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros al-Rai Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Maronites called for finding a solution to the crisis in Syria through dialogue, adding that, "reforms should not be imposed on the Syrians  from outside because reforms stem from the inside and Syrians , authority and people,  should  sit together at the table of dialogue to manage their own affairs and access to solutions ".

In an interview with Russia Today TV, Cardinal al-Rai called on the  Lebanese to realize that their interest in Lebanon and Syria  is to be an element  of peace in Syria , rather an  element of tension. "Lebanon is concerned  to play a role of peace and stability in the entire Middle East  and is able to play this role," al-Rai added, appealing  to the Lebanese to assume their responsibilities and due  role , especially  that the  Lebanese had experienced the horrors of war and its absurdity.

He highly appreciated Russia's position concerning the crisis in Syria, noting that   "Russia's policy is clear  ... And it does not stand with one Syrian party against another and calls for dialogue and understanding."

He indicated that one of the objectives of his visit to Moscow and meeting with Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia for Greek Catholics is to dialogue and cooperate in the peace issues , particularly in Syria and other Arab countries, stressing that "in the Middle East there is no clash of civilizations and cultures," as promoted by certain sides.

Replying  a question on fears on the Christian presence in  light of current events in the Middle East the patriarch said :  "war and economic crisis threaten everyone .We need stability and peace to ensure stable living conditions  for the  survival of citizens being  Muslims or Christians, asserting that "the biggest  risk is the rise of fundamentalist movements."

"The most dangerous  is to see countries in the Arab and  Western worlds supporting fundamentalists  politically and with money and weapons , and talk about the Arab spring .. This is worrying indeed."





Putin, Obama discuss Syria by telephone: Kremlin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama discussed Syria and other urgent issues by telephone Friday, the Kremlin said, noting that the call was initiated by Washington,according to

"Within the context of the crisis in Syria, Mr. Putin noted the need to end military activities as soon as possible," the Kremlin statement said.

Putin's office said the two leaders agreed to work together from now on.

The Kremlin said "the leaders are united in their desire to avoid any steps that could negatively reflect on bilateral relations."

It added that Putin once again extended an invitation for Obama to pay an official visit to Russia.

Moscow had hoped such talks would be held last year and is now holding out the idea of Obama visiting before world leaders gather in September in Saint Petersburg for the Group of Eight rich nations summit.

Washington has not indicated when Obama intends to visit Russia.


Rome meeting encourages extremism – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Alexander Lukashevich has lashed out at what so-called the “Friends of Syria” summit in Rome, saying it encouraged extremism in the country.

The US and its Western allies, as well as some Arab countries met in Italy on February 28 to discuss the situation in Syria.

Mr. Lukashevich stressed the world at large has agreed that the crisis in Syria can’t be resolved by force. Meanwhile, the statements and decisions voiced on Thursday seemed to be supporting extremists in their bid to topple the Syrian government  , despite the suffering of the Syrian people, according to Voice of Russia.


Amos Complains Shortage in Funding Aids to Syrians

NEWYORK,(ST)_ The UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Relief Coordinator  Valerie Amos  said that pledges  to help  the Syrians arrived  at 1.5  billion dollars  adding,  " We received $ 200 million and wait to receive the amount of 1.3  billion dollars and members of the UN Security Council vowed to send these funds as soon as possible

"We are cooperating with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and with the Syrian government and continue to do so and also with what she called the coalition of Syrian opposition on the ground ", Amos added in a press conference on Thursday.

"We are keen to work not only in Damascus and we have been stationed in the city of Homs since January." She added . "If some countries that give "Syrian coalition" money and consider these funds as part of the commitments they launched in Kuwait conference they have to tell us about the way funds can be distributed," Ramos noted.