UNSC Blacklisted al-Nusara Front

NEW YORK,  (ST) _  The U.N. Security Council on Friday blacklisted al-Nusra Front  terrorist group and added it to its global sanctions list because of its links to. Al-Qaeda Organization

A statement issued by the  UN Security Council sanctions committee  partly reported  by AFP that  " assets  of al-Nusra Front were frozen  at the global level and  it is prohibited from weapons delivery ."

U.S. diplomats had reported earlier that the UN SC 15 members unanimously supported the inclusion of the front on the list of terrorist organizations.

This coincided with   European Union lift  the ban on supplying arms to what it calls "the Syrian opposition,"  while west news reports confirm that al-Nusra front  is an essential component in its  ranks ,n spite of the reservations and objections made by  other  EU 25  member states.

The US, which labeled  "al-Nusra Front on " the US blacklist of terrorist organizations last December over  its relationship and close ties to al-Qaeda welcomed  on Tuesday the EU decision to lift the ban on supplying arms to those described as "Syrian opposition".


T. Fateh

Moscow expects Turkey to clarify arresting Syrian gunmen with sarin

MOSCOW,(ST)_Russia has said that it is waiting Turkey's government to present full details on arresting al-Nusra Front-affiliated Syrian gunmen carrying 2 kg cylinder of nerve agent sarin, stressing that Russia's weapons contracts with Syria do not include internationally banned weapons.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister said Friday that his country expects the Turkish government to provide full details about arresting Syrian gunmen affiliates to al-Nusra Front with sarin gas.

He expressed Russia's disappointment over the UN inaction towards the demand of investigating the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal area outside the northern Aleppo province.

"We feel great disappointment over the political game of the UN General Secretariat that failed to response immediately to the demand....rather they presented conditions which are, according to us, illogical," Lavrov said.

Repeatedly, he added, we have cautioned that this topic could be provocative and therefore we insist on accurate investigation into any act involving chemical and toxic materials.

"Moscow has welcomed the Syrian government's demand for sending experts to investigate into the incident which happened in Khan al-Assal area."

Yesterday, spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the terrorist opposition groups and extremists might use chemical weapons to pave the way for foreign military intervention in Syria.

Russia exports arms to Syria under signed contracts

In a separate context, Russian President's Assistant criticized the EU decision to lift arms embargo on opposition in Syria as it doesn't help preparation for the international conference on Syria.

Yuri Ushankov welcomed the Syrian government's intention to participate in the conference, noting that regional countries' participation in the conference is still being discussed.

As for Russia's weapons contracts with Syria, Ushankov made it clear that the contacts are being implemented under signed timetable and includes weapons that are not internationally prohibited.

B. Qaddour           

Italy, Germany Support International Conference on Syria


CAPITALS,(ST)_ Italy 's Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino stressed  the need to provide support "in all its forms" for the efforts of foreign ministers John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov to hold an international conference on Syria, "Geneva 2".

Bonino told the  Italian newspaper La Repubblica issued on Thursday that "no military solution to defuse the crisis in Syria, : adding that the risk of military explosion , must be avoided."

"Any act of mediation without the contribution of Iran as one of the key regional players  will  make it difficult to see the light even for the UN," she said.

Bonino  continued that "politics  should  talk within the framework of the Geneva 2 , and it is also necessary to stop  the flow of weapons", saying that "the process will  be gradual and difficult" and the  "goal is to achieve the formation of a transitional government and  members of the Syrian government should be to be part of this process."

" Geneva 1  approach should be adopted  and Geneva 2 to mark the  beginning of a new peace process," adding, "we also need to know the steps that must be taken by Europe clearly ".

Meantime,  German Foreign Minister Guido Fastervelleh on Thursday called on  the Syrian opposition to give up  its decision to boycott international peace conference on the conflict in Syria.

AFP  quoted the  German Foreign Minister, who is visiting Ottawa as saying: "A viable political process is the best opportunity to resolve the crisis in Syria."

In a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird, the German minister added that : " all parties in Syria and  the international community must do what they can to support the  achievement of this  political process."

For his part,  the Canadian Foreign Minister said  that if a political solution to be achieved , the two  the parties should  sit at the  table of negotiations.


T. Fateh 

'Doha Coalition' doesn't want dialogue, says Lavrov

MOSCOW,(ST)_Russia's Foreign Minister has underscored that 'Doha Coalition' doesn't want the launching  of political process to resolve the crisis in Syria and seeks for foreign military intervention in it. 

Sergei Lavrov made it clear that the Doha Coalition's call for President Bashar al-Assad's quit as a precondition to take part in Geneva-2 conference due to be held in June is 'impracticable and aims to hamper holding the conference and pave the ground for military intervention in Syria'.

He was speaking in a press conference following talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.

"No-one has the right to issue threats and ultimatums," Lavrov said, asserting the' Doha Coalition' has no positive plan and it is busy with sharing positions, especially presidency.

"The only thing upon which they have agreed is the immediate step aside of President al-Assad. I've felt during my talks with the US and French Foreign Ministers that this condition is unrealistic," the Russian FM said.

Coalition's sponsors hamper dialogue

He added that the opposition coalition and its regional sponsors spare no effort to hamper the political process. "They are dishonest in addressing public opinion in the west as they seek for foreign military intervention in Syria."

Lavrov underlined that the 'opposition coalition' is not the only representative of the Syrian people as they try to depict.

He, in addition, said: "There are other serious forces inside Syria which are ready to take part in the international conference in Syria without preconditions. They have presented constructive base for implementing Geneva Communiqué issued on June 30."

On the other hand, Lavrov cited the readiness of the National Opposition Coordination Commission to participate in Geneva-2 , saying: " Heads of those opposition groups have not left their homeland ….probably they have the right to present those who seeks for reform I Syria."

Yesterday, the Russian FM said that the outside Syrian opposition doesn't feel the Syrian people's suffering.


"Syria Opposition" Abroad Doesn't Feel Syrian People's Suffering: Lavrov

MOSCOW, (ST) -  Russian Foreign Minister Sergi Lavrov has warned against the increasing influx of foreign fighter coming to Syria from North Africa and Europe.

In a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Lavrov said "the Syrian opposition doesn't feel the suffering of the Syrian people as most of them are living abroad", stressing that holding an international conference on Syria is the "only way" to attain a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country.

The developments of the crisis in Syria threaten the stability of the entire region, deepen differences in the Islamic world and escalate the danger surrounding Syria.

Lavrov reiterated the need to avoid unilateral solutions and the adoption of double standard policies in dealing with the crisis in Syria. He also stressed the necessity of inviting all concerned parties, including Iran, to the negotiation table at the international conference due to be held in Geneva.

Commenting on the European Union's decision to end the arms embargo on the "Syrian armed groups", Lavrov said the decision adds more obstacles in the face of holding the Geneva international conference.

The Russian Foreign Minister strongly criticized the US-backed draft resolution on Syria which is scheduled to be discussed at the UN Human Rights Council today, affirming that it will damage  attempts to end the crisis in the country.

"The United States promote this completely damaging  initiative which will undermine the US-Russian joint efforts to hold an international conference on Syria," Lavrov said.

H. Mustafa

EU decision not to extend embargo on arms supplies to Syrian opposition is illegitimate - Lavrov

PARIS-The European Union's decision not to extend an embargo on arms supplies to the Syrian opposition is illegitimate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. The Voice of Russia correspondent Olga Denisova reports.

"This decision is quite controversial in itself, because the international law bans arms supplies to non-governmental entities," Lavrov told journalists in Paris on Tuesday.

"This decision is illegitimate in principle," he said.

 “Iran ranks among the most important states that must participate in conference on Syria.”

 “Number of steps being taken not without Western partners’ involvement aimed at thwarting idea to convene conference on Syria.”

“Accusing Russia of turning blind eye to Iran nuclear program a dishonest method”, Lavrov said.


Ryabkov affirms Russian arms supply to Syria legal, EU is making mistake

MOSCOW- No one has the right to rebuke Russia for arms supply to Syria, as the deliveries go to legitimate authorities, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Voice of Russia website.

"You may ask me: what about the Russian Federation? First of all, the Russian Federation is supplying arms to legitimate authorities and this is not an abstract or idle argument about who these authorities are and why they have the right to receive armaments of this or that sort and the other side has no such rights," Ryabkov told a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

He confirmed that Moscow deemed erroneous the EU decision to lift the embargo on arms supplies to the "Syrian opposition".

"You cannot declare the wish to stop the bloodshed, on one hand, and continue to pump armaments into Syria, on the other hand," Ryabkov said.

EU decision to lift Syria arms embargo is an example of double standards - Ryabkov

The EU decision to lift the embargo on arms supplies to the Syrian opposition may damage the upcoming international conference on Syria in Geneva.

"This is a manifestation of double standards and a direct damage to prospects for convocation of the international conference on Syria on which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on May 7," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters.

EU Arms Embargo Ends

Meanwhile, Russia's NATO envoy Alexander Grushko has argued that the European Union's decision to lift its arms embargo for the "Syrian opposition" will only serve to further escalate violence in Syria. 

"It is necessary to refrain from taking steps that would contradict this logic. Among such steps I see armed or non-lethal support for the opposition. It will simply add fuel to the fire," Grushko told journalists, commenting on the EU's decision not to prolong its arms embargo for the "Syrian opposition".

By means of this decision, Britain and France have won the freedom to supply weapons to Syrian armed groups.

The two states lobbying for months for an easing of the embargo prevailed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. The negotiating session dragged on for more than 13 hours and resulted in EU letting a ban on arming the "Syrian opposition" to expire.

Both London, the prime mover behind the EU decision, and Paris have claimed their commitment not to deliver arms to the Syrian opposition "at this stage". The commitment expires on August 1.

It was also decided that other economic sanctions on Syria will be prolonged by 12 months. They include asset freezes and travel bans on senior Syrian officials, as well as curbs on trade, infrastructure projects and the transport sector.

London and Paris have argued for months that Europe must support armed groups fighting the Syrian government by giving the green light for EU arms deliveries.

But they ran into strong opposition from other EU member states including Austria, the Czech Republic and Sweden, which argued that sending more weapons to the region would make the violence even worse and could see heavy weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said he regretted it had not been possible to find a compromise with Britain and France.

“The people in Syria being killed in this conflict wouldn’t benefit if we ship weapons. It would result in an arms race,” said Michael Spindelegger.


H. Mustafa 

Lavrov: Moscow Hoping Syrian Opposition Take Constructive Approach

PARIS, May 28 (ST)– Moscow is hoping that the Syrian opposition will take a constructive approach toward the upcoming international conference on the Syrian crisis, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov met late on Monday with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris to exchange updates on the preparation of the so-called Geneva-2 conference to be held in the near future.

Kerry has just wrapped up his eight-day trip to the Middle East and Africa to push forward the US diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the crisis that has been tearing Syria apart for more than two years.

“The [Syrian] opposition, according to John Kerry, is still working on the format of its delegation, and it will take time before we clearly understand their position and approach,” Lavrov said as quoted by RIA Novosti.

“I hope that this approach would be constructive because we [Moscow and Washington] share the opinion that this conference must be held without any preconditions,” he said, adding that the Syrian government has agreed "in principle" to send delegates to Geneva.

The Russian minister stressed that any steps which might hamper the preparation of the conference should be avoided.

“In our opinion, one of such steps is pushing the voting on the UN resolution that accuses the Syrian government of “all sins,” without mentioning the atrocities committed by terrorists and violations of human rights by opposition forces,” Lavrov said.

The Russian diplomacy chief reiterated that the list of the participants in a new conference should be expanded to include Syria’s neighbors and “key regional players,” such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Lavrov also expressed hope that Moscow and Washington would succeed in implementing the conference initiative to facilitate a solution to the Syrian crisis through political dialogue.

Lavrov and Kerry announced plans for the conference after their talks in Moscow on May 7. The conference would be a follow-up to last year’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria.

According to diplomatic sources, the conference may take place in mid-June, but both Moscow and Washington have so far avoided giving exact dates.

Kerry said on Monday that US and Russian diplomats will meet again soon to discuss the progress in the preparation of the Geneva-2 conference.

“We are committed to this," Kerry told reporters after the meeting with Lavrov. "We both want to make this conference happen, if possible, together with many other countries that will join up."

M. Wassouf