Lavrov: Deployment of Patriot Missiles in Turkey Destabilizes the Middle East in Future

 

 

 

MOSCOW,(ST)_  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that  deployment of Patriot missiles on the Turkish territories will increase  the risk of instability in the Middle East in the future.

 In a in a joint press conference with his Bangladeshi peer  Dipu Moni , following their talks in Moscow on Friday , the Russian Foreign minister  added that the installation of the  Patriot missiles systems  on Turkish territories  will ignite armed conflicts in the region.

In a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Lavrov "affirmed Russia's concern about plans to increase military capabilities in the region," the  Russian Foreign Ministry said.

It added that Lavrov  reiterated Russia's proposal for the establishment of a direct line of communication between Ankara and Damascus with the aim of avoiding incidents between the neighbors.

"The main concern is the more weapons there are, the greater the risk that they will be used," Lavrov said before the phone call with NATO secretary general , speaking at a news conference following talks in Moscow with Bangladesh's foreign minister, Dipu Moni.

Lavrov said  the deployment of the NATO missiles in the Turkish lands could have the opposite effect.

He told the news conference that Russia understood that no one intended to drag the NATO alliance into the Syrian crisis "but ... in the military field, what is important is not intentions, but potential.

"And when potential increases, the risks grow," he said.

"Our concerns are rooted in the 'Chekhov’s gun syndrome’ that says that if a gun appears on stage in the first act, it will definitely fire by the third," Lavrov  said.

The emergence of weapons at a time when attempts are being made to resolve a conflict creates risks – not necessarily due to the scenario, but because any stockpile of weapons naturally creates threats, he explained.

"Any provocation may trigger a very serious armed conflict. We want to avoid this," he said.

 

On the other hand, Lavrov voiced Russia 's support  for  convening a conference  for Syrian internal or external  opposition based on willingness to maintain a  dialogue with the Syrian leadership , noting Russia 's support  all proposals to unify the Syrian opposition to this end.

 

Earlier, the Russian  Foreign Ministry expressed strong reservations over Turkey's request for Patriot missiles on its territory.

"Militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is an alarming signal,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said during a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

The diplomat advised Turkey to instead promote dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.

“We have a different recommendation for our Turkish colleagues: They should use their influence on the Syrian opposition to promote the soonest beginning of the inter-Syrian dialogue," he said.

The ministry spokesman strongly advised Turkey against “building muscle or putting the situation on such a dangerous track."

NATO, the Western military alliance of which Turkey is a member, called Russia’s objections to the proposed Patriot missile installations “unjustified.”

Speaking in Zurich on Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen played down Russian concerns, saying that Patriot missile installations in Turkey would be “purely defensive.”

Germany and the Netherlands both agreed to send Patriot missile batteries to Turkey if the request received the support of their respective legislators.

NATO previously provided Ankara with Patriot missile systems in 1991 and 2003 during both Iraq wars. The systems were removed after the conflicts ended.

The Patriot surface-to-air missile, which can be used to defend against medium- and short-range ballistic missiles, has a maximum range of about 160 kilometers (100 miles).

 

T. Fateh

 

 

 

Greece says lenders closer to compromise on debt viability

The International Monetary Fund has relaxed its debt-cutting target for Greece and only a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) gap remains to be filled for a vital aid tranche to be paid, Greece's finance minister said on Friday,according to Reuters.

But other sources involved in the talks cautioned that the funding gap was far bigger than that suggested by Greece and that the two sides were not on the verge of striking a deal to resolve the euro zone's most intractable problem.

Greece's finance minister signaled that a compromise was near by saying the International Monetary Fund had agreed to deem the country's debt viable if it falls to 124 percent of GDP in 2020, giving ground on its earlier target of 120 percent.

The Euro group has already agreed on measures to reduce Greek debt to 130 percent of GDP in 2020, Yannis Stournaras said.

"That leaves a gap of 5-6 percentage points of GDP to be covered -- about 10 billion euros," he told reporters in Brussels.

The EU and IMF are considering bringing the debt down through a combination of interest rate cuts and extension of maturities on the country's loans, a debt buyback and having the ECB forego profits on its Greek bond holdings, a Greek finance ministry official told Reuters.

Teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, Greece is increasingly frustrated that its lenders are still squabbling over a deal to unlock fresh aid despite the country pushing through unpopular austerity cuts that brought thousands on to the streets.

Athens says time is running out and that it needs its next tranches of almost 44 billion euros in aid to recapitalize banks and stabilize its recession-hit economy. Its next big debt repayment falls due in mid-December.

It expects the aid to be paid out in one installment, Greece's government spokesman told Greek radio, playing down recent speculation that it could be dribbled out in bits.

The euro hit a three-week high against the dollar on growing optimism that Greece's lenders were close to an agreement.

Euro zone finance ministers, the IMF and European Central Bank failed earlier this week to agree how to get the country's debt down to a sustainable level and will have a third go at resolving the issue on Monday.

R. S

Nicaragua Voices Solidarity with Syria

 

 

 

MANAGUA, (ST) _ Recent developments in Syria and  Nicaragua, and the importance of strengthening relations between the two friendly countries were discussed in the meeting held on Thursday between  the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Dr. Faisal al-Miqdad  with Nicaragua 's Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez.

Minister Lopez expressed his country's concern over the onslaught against Syria and voiced solidarity with the right of the Syrian people to live in peace, away from all forms of foreign interference, stressing Nicaragua's care to defend Syria at the UN and regional and international forums.

For his part, al-Miqdad, noted the conspiracy by Western countries and some Gulf States against Syria in funding, arming and harboring terrorists and Turkey's flagrant interference in Syria through its support for groups Qaeda and other affiliated terrorists sides.

He expressed Syria's solidarity with Nicaragua to restore sovereignty over its territorial waters, controlled by Colombia since 1923.

 The two sides agreed to increase political and diplomatic coordination; so as to withstand challenges faced by Latin America and the Middle East.

Similarly, Dr. Al-Miqdad explained to senior officials at Nicaragua's Ministry of Foreign Affairs the conspiracy on Syria's and the persistence of the  Syrian leadership to address this  conspiracy which aims at undermining Syria 's stances against US- backed western and Israeli schemes.

 

T. Fateh

 

 

 

Syria presents foreign terrorists list to UN

 Syria has presented the UN Security Council a list of 143 foreign citizens killed in Syria fighting government troops. Damascus hopes the move will force the UN to declare the presence of foreign nationals in Syria to be international terrorism,according to Russia Today.

 The Syrian government reportedly presented proof that citizens of 19 different nations had fought in the country alongside terrorists

Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote a letter the Security Council requesting they register the list of mercenaries as an official document on the UN’s agenda of “measures to combat international terrorism.”

 Last month, Syria delivered a previous version of the list containing 108 names.

The new list contains the names of citizens from 19 countries accused of joining Syria’s rebels: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Chad, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and Chechnya.

The list consists of the names of people who were positively identified through ID or documents found on their bodies that helped establish their nationality. The bulk of the dead mercenaries in Syria are apparently still unidentified.

Syrian officials have frequently claimed that there are a sizable number of foreign terrorists from various Middle Eastern and North African countries among the terrorists Damascus has said that the mercenaries infiltrated Syria through Turkey.

 Syrian state TV aired several reports in recent months affirming  that the army has captured Al Qaeda-linked mercenaries from Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Tunisia and Yemen.

In July, Dutch photo journalist Jeroen Oerlemans and British photographer John Cantlie were captured and held hostage in Syria for a week by terrorists. They claimed that several of their captors spoke English with recognizable regional British accents, like Birmingham and London.

The ongoing crisis  in Syria started in March 2011 .

M.D

Lukashevich: Militarization of Turkish-Syrian Border Alarm signal

 MOSCOW, (ST) _ “Militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border is an alarm signal. We advise our Turkish colleagues to use their potential to influence the Syrian opposition to start the dialogue inside Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich said.

 Lukashevich, in a press briefing here Thursday, underscored that  the ministry would refrain from commenting further until Russia's NATO partners reached a decision.

Instead of "flexing muscles and placing the situation on a dangerous course, Turkey should use its influence with the opposition groups to help the two sides in the Syrian conflict start a dialogue as soon as possible.'' Added Lukashevich .

    "Such steps clearly do not add optimism from the point of view of a political settlement," Lukashevich stressed.

 Ryabkov:  Militarization of Turkish Border with Syria Escalates Tension

 " We believe that the Syrian-Turkish border becomes less quieter and this is due to a large number of factors, and the main one is the lack of political will in many countries to ensure the optimum conditions for a political solution to the situation in Syria,"  said the Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov in statements to press men on Wednesday evening in Brussels.

 Warning against the militarization of the borders between Syria and Turkey, the Russian official added that this will lead to the escalation of tension on the border.

  He reiterated the call on these countries to find a political solution and not to "reflect the military muscle" in an attempt to change the situation to their advantage through military means.

 Commenting on Turkey's request from NATO to obtain " Patriot" missile systems and  deploy  it  on the border with Syria, he pointed out that Turkey  should check the reactions of Turkey 's  allies in NATO , which announced that they  had  received the Turkish request and promised to consider it " without delay".

 

T. Fateh  

 

 

 

Iran proud of military assistance to Gaza,says Larijani

 

TEHRAN (ST)- Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has said that Iran takes pride in providing military assistance to the people of Gaza. 

Larijani made the remarks in an address to MPs during a symbolic demonstration on the campus of the parliament’s building held to express solidarity with the Palestinians, who are under attack from Israel.  

Iran is proud of defending the Palestinian people and will continue to help Palestine at difficult times, Larijani said, adding, “We are proud that our assistance was material and military in nature.” 

Addressing the Arab countries that are worried about the situation that the Palestinians are experiencing, the Iranian Majlis speaker stated, “The Palestinian people do not need speeches and meetings, rather they are in need of a serious support.” 

“If countries want to be proud, they should provide military assistance to the Palestinian people,” he added. 

Iran is ready to stand by the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Zionist regime, Larijani stated.  

He also noted that Israel’s decision to attack Gaza was a strategic mistake. 

M.D

 

G8 Summit to Be Held in Northern Ireland

The Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Group of Eight (G8) will be held next year in Northern Ireland, confirmed the British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to Prensa Latina.

After his arrival in the territory of Northern Ireland on Tuesday, Cameron announced that the meeting will take place on June 17 and 18 at the resort Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

The leader held a meeting on Tuesday with officials from the Northern Ireland Executive, including the Prime Minister, Peter Robinson, and Deputy Chief of Government, Martin McGuinness, at Stormont Castle in Belfast.

The G8 meeting in 2012 took place in Camp David, in the U.S. state of Maryland, occasion in which more than two thousand people marched in downtown Chicago against the policies of the group and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

R.S

Greece's lenders fail again to clinch debt deal

International lenders failed for the second week to reach a deal to release emergency aid for Greece and will try again next Monday, but Germany signaled that major divisions remain, according to Reuters.

Euro zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank were unable to agree in 12 hours of overnight talks in Brussels on how to make the country's debt sustainable. They want a solution before paying the next urgently needed loan tranche to keep Greece afloat.

Several European officials played down the delay, saying the disagreements were technical and a deal would be reached when they meet again on November 26.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers at a closed-door meeting in Berlin that the lenders were split over several key issues including how to define debt sustainability and fill a hole in Greek finances.

 "He sees the extension of the debt sustainability goal as one of the main bones of contention. The other is how to cover the Greek financing gap of 14 billion euros through 2014," said one lawmaker who attended Wednesday's meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats in parliament.

Merkel herself told the lawmakers the gap could be plugged by lowering interest rates on loans to Greece and increasing guarantees provided to the euro zone's temporary EFSF bailout fund, in which Germany would take its share, a participant said.

Greece needs the next 31 billion euro aid tranche to keep servicing its debt and avoid bankruptcy. Its next major repayment is in mid-December.

Athens says it has carried out the tough reforms required in the bailout program but needs more time to reach fiscal targets agreed with its lenders because its economy has continued to shrink.

European governments want to give Greece an extra two years, until 2022, to cut its debt to a sustainable level but the IMF does not agree. The Europeans, led by Germany, are refusing to write off any loans. Both options would make it easier for Greece to meet the targets in the bailout program.

"Greece did what it had committed it would do. Our partners, together with the IMF, also have to do what they have taken on to do," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a statement.

"Any technical difficulties in finding a technical solution do not justify any negligence or delays."

Samaras will meet Juncker in Brussels on Thursday and has cancelled a trip to Qatar next week to monitor the talks, a government spokesman said.

Germany and other EU states say writing down their loans would be illegal. The European Central Bank, a major holder of Greek bonds, has refused to take a "haircut" on its holdings.

Berlin contends a debt haircut would not tackle the roots of Greece's debt problems and would be unfair to other euro zone countries that have taken tough steps to improve their finances.

"It would cost money, it would be a fatal signal to Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain, as they would immediately ask why they should accept difficult conditions and push through difficult measures...and it would have consequences under budget law," Norbert Barthle, budget spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats said.

Without corrective measures, the Eurogroup document said, Greek debt would be 144 percent in 2020 and 133 percent in 2022.

Juncker said after a meeting a week ago that he wanted to extend the target date to reduce Greek debt by two years to 2022, but Lagarde insists the 2020 goal should stand. She is believed to favor euro zone member states taking a write down.

 

R.S