Lavrov: Meetings of Astana and Geneva on crisis in Syria were useful and achieved significant progress


Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the meetings of Astana and Geneva were very useful as they achieved a significant progress, expressing hope that they will help in consolidating the cessation of hostilities agreement and moving forward the political solution to the crisis in Syria, SANA reported.

In a joint press conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel, Lavrov said “accelerating Geneva process is in our interest.”

Fifth Round of Intra-Syrian Talks in Geneva on March 23rd

NEW YORK, (ST)- The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura has invited the Syrian government and opposition to resume the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva on March 23rd.

In a press conference he held in New York, de Mistua said the fifth round of the talks will also be indirect.

UN Human Rights Chief Warns about Trump's Immigration Policies

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that US President Donald Trump's immigration policies could lead to mass detentions and “collective expulsions” of migrants, amounting to a “breach of international law.”

In an annual speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said better leadership was needed to tackle rising discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in the US.

"Expedited deportations could amount to collective expulsions and refoulement, in breach of international law, if undertaken without due process guarantees, including individual assessment," Zeid said, referring to the UN Refugee Convention, which prohibits the forcible return of people who are escaping persecution, violence and war.

Iran’s Defense Minister Promises Strong Response to Enemy Moves

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the country’s defensive military power will catch enemies off guard in case of an act of aggression against the Islamic Republic, Press T.V reported.

“The [Iranian] Defense Ministry invests in sectors that would give us the upper hand. In line with this [policy]… we have developed a series of defensive systems so that we would not be caught off-guard by the enemy," Dehqan said on Wednesday, adding that Iran's enemies would get surprised by the country's defense capabilities.

He added that the US and Israel would start a war against Iran if they had the slightest doubts about the Islamic Republic's defensive capabilities.

Syria Occupies Priority As Regards Humanitarian Aid Provided by Czech Republic: Senior Diplomat

PRAGUE, (ST)- Deputy Czech Foreign Minister Martin Tlaba has stressed that Syria is among the countries that occupy priority as regards humanitarian aid provided by the Czech Republic.

In a statement to the Czech News Agency on Wednesday, Tlaba said last year his country “sent Syria several aid shipments that mainly included health and medical materials as well as dry children milk”.

He added that the Czech Republic has also worked to help establish alternative housing centers, ensure water, provide health and other kinds of basic services and organize the process of children education.

The Czech diplomat pointed out that due to keeping its embassy in Damascus opened, his country managed to provide good and useful assistance.

Russian, US and Turkish Military Officials Discuss Crisis in Syria

MOSCOW- Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, discussed regional security in Syria and Iraq and efforts aimed at raising the efficiency in combating terrorism at a meeting in Antalya on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday, according to Itar Tass.

"During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on regional security issues in Syria and Iraq. In particular, they discussed the current situation in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria in light of raising the efficiency in countering all terrorist organizations in the future. They also noted the importance of taking additional steps to prevent incidents during operations," the ministry said.


Wikileaks Says It has Published CIA Hacking Secrets

The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks says it has obtained and published thousands of documents by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that reveals the US spy agency’s hacking secrets, including its ability to penetrate encrypted communications.

WikiLeaks said in a statement on Tuesday that the CIA files are the “most comprehensive” release of US spying files ever made public, according to Press TV.

The anti-secrecy website said it redacted the names of purported CIA officers and withheld other information it said might be too damaging, including the CIA’s cyber weapons themselves.

EU to Host International Conference on Syria in April

BRUSSELS-  The European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday announced that the bloc will on April 5 host an international conference on Syria's future.

The EU will cochair the conference with the United Nations and with the governments of Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and Britain, Mogherini said at a press conference following a one-day Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

"We hope that the Brussels conference on April 5 can support strongly the UN work on the political track, but also try to establish a regional and international framework for that support, for the humanitarian work, but also for looking at the future, how we can, together, support the future of Syria and the region," she said.