Russian parliamentarians to accept US colleagues in Moscow for dialogue on Syria

Chairman of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin said that the Russian parliament did not intend to give up contacts with the US congressmen and ready to take their delegation in Moscow, despite the earlier refusal of Washington to discuss "the Syrian issue" with the deputies of the Russian Federation.

"We are open for discussion. This is the strength of our position ", - told reporters on Tuesday Naryshkin, answering the question on board of the aircraft which took off from Strasbourg to Moscow, according to Voice of Russia, TASS, Interfax.

At the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe speaker participated in the fall session of this international organization and spoke today at the PACE tribune and answered the questions of European parliamentarians.

In early September, when there was a real threat of force strike against Damascus, and the issue had to be discussed in Congress, a group of deputies of the State Duma was formed, ready to immediately fly to the US for meetings with the US colleagues.

Russian MPs wanted to use all the possibilities, including parliamentary diplomacy for the peaceful settlement of the conflict around Syria. However, Congress did not support this initiative and refused to accept the Duma delegation.

Naryshkin, meanwhile, believes that it is in the mutual interests to continue communication, despite the difference of positions, especially that at the level of diplomats resolution on Syria has been reached.

The speaker shared with the reporters information which he said, has not yet officially been confirmed, "The information was passed that allegedly they (the Congress) are discussing the possibility to come here."

Responding to a question if he was satisfied with his performance in PACE, Naryshkin said: "I have a good mood."

He added that that was the first time he visited Strasbourg and he enjoyed the city.

PACE to debate Syria situation, hear Naryshkin

An autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has  opened  . A speech to be made by Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, as RF delegation leader Alexei Pushkov put it, will be the session's "central event".

Pushkov recalled that Naryshin's visit had been planned at PACE a year ago but "was frustrated through the efforts of a number of national delegations that suggested draft recommendations about a discriminatory double monitoring of Russia".

"In such conditions, the (Duma Speaker's) trip turned out to be impossible. The draft recommendations were then turned down, and there are no obstacles (to the visit) any longer now," the RF chief delegate emphasized.

He said that about 50 Europarliamentarians expressed readiness to put questions to the State Duma Speaker.

"There will be five main questions from all political groups of PACE," Pushkov pointed out, adding that he expects a discussion of the most acute problems of the Russia-Europe agenda.

An urgent debate on how to settle the conflict in Syria is expected to be held within the scope of the session. "Syria is the key issue of world politics and, undoubtedly, PACE must adopt its own resolution on the issue," Pushkov said.

In the opinion of the RF chief delegate, "A very serious evolution (of views) on the  crisis in Syria occurred in Strasbourg".

Pushkov said that a statement had been even adopted at the PACE Bureau session in Croatia, the statement which laid emphasis on the assumption that the crisis in Syria must be solved by political methods, not by the use of force, and that any use of chemical weapons by any side involved in the conflict is inadmissible".

 

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Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been singled out for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, with claims that he is more deserving of the award than US President Barack Obama.

The International Academy of Spiritual Unity of the Peoples of the World announced Tuesday that it had written to the Nobel Prize committee, backing Putin for his plan that helped avert a new world war.”

The patriotic Russian group said Putin deserves the award for his efforts in brokering an agreement for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons under international control.

Ruling party lawmaker and famous singer IosifKobzon also added that Putin was more deserving of the Nobel Prize than Obama.

Our president, who is trying to stop the war and suggest a political solution,

is more worthy of such a title,” said Kobzon, adding that Obama is the person who initiated and approved such aggressive acts as Iraq and Afghanistan and who is preparing for intervention in Syria.”

In August, Putin called for Obama to remember his Nobel status and not initial a military intervention in Syria to avoid casualties.

A number of Western countries, including the United States, France, and the UK, were quick to engage in a major publicity campaign to promote war against Syria despite the fact that Damascus categorically rejected the claim that it has been behind a chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.

Putin also expressed surprise at a vote in the British parliament that rejected London™s role in a potential war on Syria.

The Russian president also condemned the West for its interventionism and the adoption of “missile-bomb democracy” in solving international disputes, saying he will not allow a 2011 Libya-like scenario to be repeated for Syria.

Putin pointed out that the West’s influence was waning around the word due to the economic meltdown.

The Nobel Peace Prize was created by the efforts of the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1901, and is awarded annually to the person or group that has done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Source: press TV

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Syrian "opposition" may participate in Geneva II

MOSCOW-The main task is to bring to the negotiating table the Syrian government and those opposition forces that are concerned about the fate of their country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday,according to ITAR TASS.

Speaking about the possible timeframe of the Geneva-2 conference on Syria, Lavrov said “We expect to convene it in mid-November”.

As for representatives of the Syrian opposition, he said “We expected that our western partners, who had committed themselves to bring the "opposition" to that conference would be able to do it rather quickly”.

“I do not rule out that the armed opposition, if they do not take up extremist or terrorist positions, may be represented there,” the Russian foreign minister told a news conference after the talks with Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in the Russian capital of Moscow on Tuesday.

 “So, this is a matter of those who have a larger influence on the "opposition" than we have,” he added. “We are working with all parties, but our Western partners and key countries in the Middle Eastern region have a major influence on the opposition,” Lavrov noted.

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Dialogue between Syria gov't and moderate "opposition" is possible - Sergei Ivanov

Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Ivanov has reaffirmed the possibility of a dialogue between members of the Syrian government and representatives of Syria's moderate "opposition' as part of a planned international conference on Syria in Geneva.

"The war between the government and the "opposition" stopped [in Syria] a long time ago", and today the Syrian opposition "is made up of at least five independent factions that frequently hate each other," Ivanov told the Russia media,according to Voice of Russia.

"The West is beginning to understand that maybe the "opposition' should be divided, that it is necessary to stop trying to persuade al-Qaeda and other extremists to speak about Geneva-2, and that weapons deliveries to them should preferably be stopped," he said.

If the West "supplies weapons to the so-called "Syrian Popular Army", which consists of Syrians who are fighting against the Syrian government, there will still be no reason to doubt that al-Qaeda is not seizing their weapons" because al-Qaeda is stronger than Syria's internal opposition, Ivanov said.

"But even if we put all of these circumstances aside, first we could split the opposition into two parts and invite both the Syrian government's representatives and what we can describe as a reasonable opposition to the Geneva-2 [conference], where dialogue may be launched," Ivanov said.

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Russian, Indian foreign ministers to discuss Syria in Moscow Wednesday

The situation in Syria and other countries of the region and cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS group will be on the agenda of the Moscow meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid on October 2, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich reported,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will negotiate with Salman Khurshid on October 2. In addition, the Indian minister will attend the 19th session of the Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation as a commission cochairman. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is the Russian cochairman of the commission," says Lukashevich's interview posted on the ministry website on Tuesday.

"The ministerial meeting will focus on the implementation of the agreements reached during an official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India in December 2012, the arrangement of the upcoming top-level contacts and a ministerial meeting of the RIC group (Russia, India and China) and topical bilateral and international issues. An emphasis will be put on the situation in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa and the interaction in the UN and within the BRICS and SCO formats," the diplomat said.

Lukashevich pointed to positive dynamics in Russian-Indian trade and economic relations.

"Bilateral trade turnover has grown six times since 2000. Positive dynamics were maintained even in the midst of the global financial and economic crisis. Trade reached a record level of $11 billion in 2012 as compared with $8.9 billion in 2011. The growth stood at 24.5%," he said.

Trade turnover may surpass last year's levels in 2013, Lukashevich said, citing tentative estimates.

Speaking about the upcoming meeting of the intergovernmental commission, the diplomat said it would map out primary bilateral projects.

"Primary objectives include the promotion of economic contacts through investment projects and joint ventures and the fulfillment of the agreements on innovative and high-tech industries [bio-medical, nano, information and telecommunication technologies and so on]. Economic modernization plays a special role," he said.

The diplomat also noted the sustainable development of military technological cooperation between Russia and India.

 

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Lavrov says "rebels "in Syria have chemical arms, proofs mounting

Russia has collected enough evidence to implicate "rebels" in Syria in using chemical weapons near Aleppo on March 19. According to Foreign Minister Lavrov, gas sarin that was unleashed against civilians outside the northern city was crudely-made as the Russian investigation confirm.

The Russian foreign chief added the results of the probe were available to all member states of the UN Security Council, according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

 “We have information that the tragic incident on August 21 – where chemical weapons were used, according to confirmed reports – involved sarin of the same origin as the chemical toxin fired on March 19, although it was far stronger. We have submitted these finds to our US partners and to the UN Secretariat,” Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One.

The minister also reminded journalists about a phone call between two "rebel s" that was caught on tape and subsequently covered by the Kommersant newspaper.

Lavrov said Moscow made the incident known to the US and other proponents of the Syrian "opposition", calling them “to make sure that their ‘charges’ kept their hands off any chemical weapons or their components, to say nothing of using them.”

“We are certain that "militants" have more than once attempted such provocations. Therefore, the direct sponsors of opposition forces who offer them support must also see to it that they give up on further provocations,” the minister underscored, adding that Syria’s security agenda must be tackled only with the help from its government.

"The main idea is to let OPCW experts play the first fiddle, while the UN plays a supporting role by providing additional personnel if needed and, first and foremost, by protecting watchdogs that are to inspect Syrian chemical arms depots as listed by the country’s government.”

 “Of course, we are still to agree the details of this plan. In this sense, the UN Security Council’s resolution will entitle the UN secretary general to come forth with his recommendations during consultations with the OPCW’s chief.

Mr. Lavrov stressed that there was a duty on the opposition, as well as on the government, to guarantee security of UN inspectors.

Lavrov urges Syria neighbors to bar "opposition" from obtaining chemical arms

UN member countries, especially Syria's neighbors, should not allow using their territories for the provision of Syrian "opposition groups" with chemical armaments or their components, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

 

"The resolution stresses chemical weapons must not fall into the hands of non-governmental entities, which the opposition is.

It also emphasizes that all UN member states, primarily Syria's neighbors, must take comprehensive measures to prevent the use of their territories for the provision of the "opposition" with chemical weapons and their components," Lavrov told Channel One on Saturday.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution concerning the disposal of Syrian chemical weapons and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has approved the scrapping plan.

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Venezuela, Bolivia Reiterates Rejection of Any Military Action against Syria

CARACAS- Venezuela and Bolivia have reiterated their rejection of any US aggression against Syria.

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales expressed their worry over the US claims about the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons, stressing that the claims aim at justifying a military intervention in Syria.  

Morales: Obama can invade any country for US energy needs

In the same context, the Bolivian President Evo Morales has said that Obama should face an international trial with human rights watchdogs among the judges.

 Upon his arrival in Caracas coming from New York where he took part in the session of the UN General Assembly, Morales accused his US counterpart of instigating conflicts in the Middle East to make the region more volatile and to increase the US’s grip on the natural resources it abounds in, According to RT website,

He gave Libya as an example of a country where “they arranged for the President to be killed, and they usurped Libya’s oil.”

“Now they are funding the rebels that fight against presidents who don’t support capitalism or imperialism,” Morales told Eva Golinger of RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad. “And where a coup d’état is impossible, they seek to divide the people in order to weaken the nation –a provocation designed to trigger an intervention by peacekeeping forces, NATO, the UN Security Council. But the intervention itself is meant to get hold of oil resources and gain geopolitical control, rather than enforce respect for human rights.”

The US also operates in the same imperialist way outside the Middle East, Morales argued. At the General Assembly Obama said that the US “is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests” in the Middle East. Among the core interests, he mentioned “the free flow of energy from the region to the world.” Morales said that Obama’s statement should make any country possessing natural resources worried.

 “I think that statement poses a threat to all countries that have energy sources, especially gas and oil,” Morales said. “But mostly those countries that sell gas and oil to the US. It is a direct threat. I am planning to meet with President Maduro and analyze the issue. I understand that this is a direct threat to Venezuela, because in order to secure his country’s energy needs, Obama can invade any country.”

 

BRICS: OPCW Must Play Key Role in Resolving Syria Chemicals Issue        

The BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa announced that the Organization for the prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must play a key role in resolving Syria chemicals issue, according to Russia Today.

The group held a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

"We are impatiently waiting for the Resolutions of the OPCW and the UNSC to support the Russian-American accords," BRICS statement read.

BRICS foreign ministers also called on an immediate ceasefire in Syria, noting a new chance for a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis.

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UN aims to hold international peace conference on Syria in mid-November

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday the international community aims to hold an international peace conference on Syria in mid-November, the UN News Centre said. “The United Nations is ready to host Geneva-2,” the UN chief was quoted as saying.

 “Today can and must be a stepping stone to peace.”

 “It is time for the parties to focus on how to build the peaceful, Ban said, adding that the conference should be fully representative of the Syrian people.

“All those with influence on the parties must use that influence now. It is crucial to keep up the momentum,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged all parties to the Syrian "conflict" to join the talks.

 “We expect that increasingly fragmented Syrian opposition groups will finally be able to declare their readiness to take part in the international conference without preconditions, as the Syrian government did,” he said.

Syria’s envoy to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, reiterated on Saturday that the Syrian government was "fully committed" to taking part in the event.

So far, the main obstacle to the Geneva-2 summit – intended to bring the Syrian government and "rebel forces" to the negotiating table – was reluctance to participate by the internationally recognized representatives of the insurgents, the"Syrian National Coalition".

Chemical weapons resolution addresses Syria's concerns - Syrian UN Ambassador

A resolution adopted by the UN Security Council to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons covers most of Damascus' concerns, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said on Friday.

Ja'afari, reacting after the Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution, said countries supporting "rebels" in Syria - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and the United States - should also abide by the resolution.

He said the Syrian government was "fully committed" to attending a proposed November peace conference in Geneva aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.

UN prepared to punish breaches of Syria resolution - Lavrov

The UN Security Council would be prepared to take punitive steps in the event of confirmed violations of a resolution demanding the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"The United Nations Security Council ... will stand ready to take action under Chapter 7 of the (UN) charter, quite clearly," Lavrov said after the council unanimously approved the resolution. He was referring to the part of the charter covering the council's power to enforce its decisions with sanctions or military force. Any such steps would require a new resolution.

 ‘The resolution does not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and does not allow any automatic enforcement of coercive measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the Security Council vote.

The UN Security Council resolution on chemical weapons in Syria will have to be observed not only by the Syrian authorities, but also by the "opposition", Lavrov stressed.

"The responsibility for the implementation of this resolution does not only lie on the government of Syria,"he said.

According to Lavrov, the Syrian "opposition" is also obliged to work with international experts as required by the Security Council resolution.

"We hope that more and more scattered groups of the Syrian "opposition "will finally be able – as the Syrian government has already done for a long time – to declare its readiness to participate in an international conference without preconditions,” Lavrov said.

Separately, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said world powers were aiming to hold an international peace conference in mid-November to help put an end to crisis in Syria.

UN Security Council unanimously approves Syria resolution

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining the details of taking under international control and ultimately destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal.

Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote.

The target date for a new peace conference in Geneva was set for mid-November.

The Council’s vote comes after a consensus was reached earlier on Friday by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in regards to the proposal.

The five veto-wielding members had agreed upon the text on Thursday before presenting the draft to the full 15-member body during overnight discussions.

The draft resolution is fully in line with the Geneva framework on the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, Sergey Lavrov told the press earlier on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's 68th session.

Chemical watchdog approves Syria disarmament plan

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has adopted a decision on Syria chemical arms by consensus, the UK ambassador to the UN said.

The world's chemical watchdog adopted a plan shortly before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution including the blueprint.

"The decision is adopted and it is effective immediately," Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons spokesman Michael Luhan told journalists.

"White smoke in the Hague," British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant announced on his Twitter feed. "OPCW decision adopted by consensus.

The OPCW meeting comes after the US and Russia on Thursday agreed a draft UN Security Council resolution on destroying Syria's chemical weapons, breaking a prolonged deadlock.

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