Extremist opposition groups in Syria abduct OSCE member-states journalists, says

Moscow favors the amendment of the mandate of the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports. "The new realities of the media environment dictate the need to update the mandate of the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, which was adopted back in 1997," Lavrov said at an OSCE ministerial session in Kiev on Thursday.

"Russia has made a specific proposal on its amendment and asks for its consideration," he said.

"The provision of security of journalists performing their professional duties and improvement of the relevant legal basis call for special attention," he said.

"We are primarily concerned about multiple instances of violation of the rights of journalists working abroad, especially mass abductions of journalists, including citizens of many OSCE member-states, by extremist opposition groups in Syria," Lavrov said.

OSCE should find comprehensive solution to human trafficking problem - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to pay greater attention to the fight against trafficking in humans, the Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

"We support the need for the OSCE to pay stronger attention to a shameful phenomenon such as human trafficking. We call on [this organization] to apply a comprehensive solution to this problem, including the trade in human organs and tissues," Lavrov said at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev on Thursday.

"Trafficking in humans is particularly outrageous," he said. "Recently, the operations of online adoption exchanges were exposed that helped illegally transfer adopted children to other families, which frequently led to instances of sexual abuse," Lavrov said.

"Is there anyone who may think that such criminal methods of Internet use are permissible?" Lavrov said.


Russia to give to Syria necessary equipment for chemical disarmament mission - Churkin

Russia will give to Syria necessary equipment for certain measures in the framework of elimination of the chemical weapons, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told Russian reporters on Wednesday.

He said it would solve the problem of lacking material means for the chemical disarmament mission in Syria ,according to Voice of Russia,  .

"We shall provide certain assistance to Syria by giving necessary equipment for certain measures in the framework of elimination of the chemical weapons," the diplomat said.


N.H. khider

Lavrov, Kerry discuss preparations for Geneva-2, Syria chemical disarmament

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry met on the sidelines of a Russia-NATO Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss preparations for the Geneva-2 international conference on Syria and the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told reporters.

"The sides exchanged opinions on international issues and lauded progress at the talks with Iran resulting in concrete and mutually acceptable agreements in the interests of nonproliferation and global security," the source said, according to Voice of Russia, TASS.

 Lavrov and Kerry discussed the situation around Syria, including Geneva-2 preparations and the course of Syria’s chemical disarmament.

A number of "burning aspects of bilateral relations" were also touched upon, the source said.


Rasmussen: Russia-NATO partnership key security element in Euro-Atlantic region

BRUSSELS_ The Russia-NATO partnership remains a key element of security in the Euro-Atlantic region, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday, opening a ministerial of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in which Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is taking part, according to ITAR TASS.

 “We have made considerable progress in our co-operation on Afghanistan and in combating terrorism,” he stressed. According to him, the ministers of 29 NRC member countries are to consider a wide range of issues, including co-operation in the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in interaction with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

We have also launched a new project — trust fund for obsolete munitions disposal. This work will be started in Kaliningrad,” Rasmussen said.

He noted that the relations with the “partner states” would be considered at the NRC meeting on Wednesday among other issues. He did not mention the missile defense problem on which Russia and NATO have not reached compromise so far.


UN head urges to invite Iran to Geneva conference on Syria

UNITED NATIONS_ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon so far has not made a decision on the list of participants in a peace conference on Syria (Geneva 2) that is scheduled for January 22, but still believes that Iran should be among the invited parties. He made this statement at a news conference in Lima (Peru) on Monday, according to ITAR TASS.

The UN head expressed hope that the list of the conference participants would be coordinated at a preparatory meeting that will be held in Geneva on December 20 with the participation of the UN, Russian and US officials.

“Iran should be invited to this meeting (Geneva 2). I and (UN) special representative (for Syria) LakhdarBrahimi had made it clear in the past that Iran should be invited to this meeting. I believe that Iran is one of such countries who can play an important role but I have not yet decided. This is a matter for concentrations among the parties concerned,” Ban said.

According to the UN head, this issue will be addressed at consultations among the parties concerned. He said he hoped to send all the invitations by the end of this month.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif said that the country was ready to participate in the Geneva 2 conference “without preconditions” if the invitation came.


Terrorists’ actions against religious building in Syria should be curbed - Moscow

MOSCOW- Terrorists’ criminal actions against religious buildings and religious figures in Syria should be curbed, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Tuesday, according to ITAR TASS.

Commenting on a series attacks on Islamic and Christian churches and the clergy, the ministry said, “We consider it necessary to rivet attention of international and regional partners to contributing to the settlement in Syria. We urge international humanitarian organisations to contribute to the settlement of the situation in Syria.”

“Terrorists’ aggressive actions against religious buildings and religious figures should be curbed,” the ministry said.

“This is important in light of creating a corresponding climate to convene the Geneva II Peace Conference on January 22, 2014,” the ministry said.


Lavrov to begin visit to Brussels for Russia-NATO Council ministerial meeting

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will begin his visit to Brussels on Tuesday, where he will take part in a ministerial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council on December 4. Delegates will exchange opinions on pressing international problems, including security in the Euro-Atlantic region, the situation in Syria and Afghanistan, and will discuss problems of and prospects for relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance in responding to common risks and security threats, the Russian Foreign Ministry said,according to Voice of Russia,ITAR TASS.

The foreign ministers will consider "practical measures to implement agreements on the creation of a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region that were reached at the summit of the Russia-NATO Council in Lisbon on November 20, 2010," the ministry said. "Russia will draw attention to the need of taking practical steps towards implementing this task."

"The meeting will review the activity of the Russia-NATO Council for 2013 and discuss priorities for further practical cooperation in the military sphere, the fight against piracy, counteraction to terrorist and drug-trafficking threats, response to natural and techno genic catastrophes and the creation of necessary conditions for mutually advantageous military-technical cooperation," the ministry said. "The diplomats will also discuss preparation of a project on the scrapping of munitions using advanced environmentally friendly technologies."

Moreover, the ministers will approve an action plan of the Russian-NATO Council for 2014.

"The meeting’s important component will be the discussion of further cooperation on Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force’s mission in 2014," the ministry said. "A special focus will be placed on the need to ensure proper international legal base of NATO's planned presence in Afghanistan," the ministry said. "Russia will reiterate importance of establishing cooperation between the Alliance and the Collective Security Treaty Organization."



US Security Officials Concerned over American Extremist "Fighters" in Syria

US security officials warn of the threat coming from American citizens fighting alongside the so-called "jihadist" groups in Syria and might return to the US radicalized, experienced and ready to attack, According to RT.

The latest estimates by the British defense consultant, IHS Jane's, and cited by AP put the number of US fighters who have traveled to Syria to support the armed terrorist groups at a couple of dozen. US security officials are far from underestimating the potential risks they represent.

“We know that American citizens as well as Canadian and European nationals have taken up arms in Syria, Yemen and in Somalia. The threat that these individuals could return home to carry out attacks is real and troubling,” said Senator Thomas Carper at a Senate homeland security committee hearing in November.

The concern was shared by Matthew G. Olsen, who heads the "National Counterterrorism Center".

 “Many extremists lack advanced operational training, which forces them to seek assistance online from like-minded extremists or pursue travel to overseas battlegrounds to receive hands-on experience”, said Olsen.

The issue was first brought up in August by the then FBI Director Robert Mueller and appears to be still high on the agenda.

This year, at least three Americans have been charged with planning to fight beside Al-Qaeda linked extremist groups.

H. Mustafa