Symposium in Brazil: Syria Targeted by US-led Aggressive Attack

 BRASILIA, (ST) – Participants in a symposium held in Brazil under the theme of "Brazil in the World: Duties and Responsibilities in the Middle East" stressed that Syria is targeted by an aggressive attack, because of its stance which reject the dictations of the US and its western and regional allies.

The symposium was organized Thursday by the Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee at the Brazilian Parliament.

The participants affirmed that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are contributing to shedding the Syrian blood in implementation of the western and US plots, calling on these countries to stop supporting terrorism in Syria.

The Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry representative who attended the symposium called on all countries concerned in solving the crisis in Syria to resort to dialogue as to help solve this crisis.

Syria's Ambassador and Iran's Ambassador in Brazil also attended the symposium, in addition to other personalities representing the Syrian Arab community in Brazil.

 

Y. Khadour

 

 

Russia’s Deputy PM : Russian Weapons Exported to Syria Cannot Be Used against Civilians

MOSCOW, (ST)_ Russian Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of Military Industries, Dmitry Rogozin, on Thursday has criticized the focus on Russia and its supplying arms to Syria, while others import different kinds of weapons to launch battles against legitimate authority, stressing that his country don't supply any prohibited weapons.

In a meeting held today in Moscow between the Russia Parliamentarians and a delegation representing the Council of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), Russia Today Website quoted Rogozin as saying that all weapons supplied to Syria are for defense.

Rogozin has said that the weapons Russia has exported to Syria cannot be used against the civilians and the weapons systems, especially the air defense systems supplied, will be used by Syria only to defend itself against external threats.

Weapons Export Controlling in Russia, unlike other countries, is subjected to strict measures, Rogozin added.

To focus on Russia concerning the issue of exporting weapons is untrue, because Russia has always been faithful to its international commitments, Rogozin pointed out.

In this context, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, confirmed his country's firm stance as to get the crisis in Syria sorted out by the Syrians' efforts without any foreign interference.

In a speech before Council of the Russian Federation in presence of a delegation from NATO PA, Grushko said that Russia has been doing its best for helping to launch  political dialogue and violence halt in Syria, yet Russia's partners should also exert all efforts possible to push the Syrian opposition to start dialogue with the authority.

He added that the main task of the international community is restricted to implementing the plan of the former UN Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and Geneva statement, in addition to providing support to the current UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's mission.

Grushko voiced concern  over terrorists' infiltration and weapons smuggling into Syria, pointing out that the fragmentation of the opposition constitutes an obstacle on the way of solving the crisis in Syria.

The opposition is unable to unite its ranks or form a political force to dialogue with, Grushko  concluded.

Syria Times

Top US envoy to visit Pakistan for Afghan talks

  (Agencies) - US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman will visit Pakistan for talks on bilateral matters and Afghanistan.

 The State Department said on its website that Grossman embarked on his visit on Tuesday, which will first take him to Ankara.

 In Ankara, Ambassador Grossman will attend a meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) for Afghanistan.

 This meeting of the ICG will focus on the status of Afghan and international commitments on security and development following the Chicago NATO summit and the Tokyo Conference.

 The ICG member countries also plan to discuss international support for transition planning and an Afghan-led political process.

 “In Islamabad, Ambassador Grossman will continue our work with the Pakistani government to identify our shared interests and focus on actions we can take together,” the State Department said.

 The visit comes at a time when diplomatic efforts for solution of Afghan problem are gaining momentum.

 Meanwhile, four bodies of Afghan soldiers have been recovered in a Pakistani tribal region, sources in the area said Wednesday.

   The bodies were found in a remote area in Jamrud, a main town in Khyber agency, bordering Afghanistan.

 There was no official confirmation of the incident. It was not clear who killed the soldiers either.

 Sources said that the local tribesmen saw the bodies in Toor Darra mountainous area and informed the officials.

 

ST

 

Russia Criticizes EU's Unilateral Sanctions on Iran

Moscow, (IRNA) - The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized in a statement on Wednesday the unilateral sanctions imposed by the European Union on Iran and expressed its "deep concern" over the issue.

  The statement urged efforts to hold fresh talks between Iran and the Six states: the US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany.

Moscow referred to the unilateral sanctions by the EU as a "palpable blow" to the unity of the six nations.

 "We will continue to consistently seek to achieve the organization of the next round of negotiations ... as soon as possible," the statement said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently expressed the country's disagreement on the new anti-Iran bans.

 

ST

Greeks go on strike as EU leaders meet

 ATHENS, (Reuters) - Greek workers walked off the job for the second time in three weeks on Thursday, hoping to show EU leaders meeting in Brussels that a new wave of wage and pension cuts will only worsen their plight after five years of recession.

 Streets emptied in central Athens as most business and public sector activity ground to a halt at the start of the 24-hour strike called by the country's two biggest labour unions, ADEDY and GSEE.

 Greece is stuck in its worst downturn since World War Two and must make at least 11.5 billion Euros of cuts to satisfy the "troika" of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, and secure the next tranche of a 130-billion-Euro bailout.

 "Just once, the government ought to reject the troika's absurd demands," said Yannis Panagopoulos, head of the GSEE private sector union, one of two major unions that represent about 2 million people, or half of Greece's workforce.

 "Agreeing to catastrophic measures means driving society to despair and the consequences as well as the protests will then be indefinite," he said.

European Union leaders will try to bridge their differences over plans for a banking union at their two-day summit which starts on Thursday but no substantial decisions are expected, reviving concerns about complacency in tackling the debt crisis which exploded three years ago in Greece.

The strike brought much of the country to a standstill. Ships stayed in port, Athens public transport was disrupted and hospitals were working on emergency staff, while public offices, ministries and many shops including bakeries were shut.

 Five separate marches later on Thursday are expected to culminate in demonstrations outside parliament, which in the past have ended in clashes between police and protesters. Metal fences were put up outside parliament on the central Syntagma square and about 4,000 policemen were being deployed.

 

ST

 

Putin: Russia will NOT Be Dictated to on Arms Sales

MOSCOW (ST) - President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that only the U.N. Security Council could restrict Russian weapons sales abroad.

"Only sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council can serve as a basis for limiting weapons supplies," Putin said, according to state-run Itar-Tass News Agency.

"In all other cases, nobody can use any pretext to dictate to Russia on how it should trade and with whom," he was quoted as telling a meeting of a state commission on the arms trade.

 

M. Daoud

Rare Earthquake Rattles New England

A rare 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled New England, last night. While some of our readers on the West Coast would barely even blink with such a shake, it caused confusion and consternation for many around the epicenter about 30 miles outside of Portland, Maine.

The Bangor daily reports that the largest earthquake to strike the region measured 5.1 and it happened in 1904.

"According to the Geological Survey, tremors were felt as far north as upper New Hampshire and Vermont, and Maine, and as far south as Connecticut. People in Greater Boston were buzzing in the immediate aftermath.

"Paul DiNatale, of Newburyport, said in a phone interview that his house shook for 20 seconds, and at first he thought there was a problem with his boiler.

'It was a scary experience,' he said."

In Dayton, Maine, the Daily News reports, there was a standoff going on when the earthquake struck.

"Things were rattling and shaking. I thought there was an explosion going off. My neighbor came over all shook up. A picture had fallen off her wall," Ron Smith, owner of Goodwin's Mills General Store in Lyman, told the paper.

Sue Hadiaris, of Saco, told the AP her whole house shook.

"It felt like a train was coming through the house," she said.

But her 15-year-old niece looked at the bright side: "We can cross that off our bucket list," she said.

The AP adds that there were no immediate reports of damage.

Top Vatican Officials Expected to visit Damascus Next Week

 VATICAN CITY, (S.T)_  Pope Benedict XVI is to send a delegation, including top Vatican officials and New York's cardinal  to Syria, the Vatican said Tuesday.

The Vatican No. 2, Cardinal TarcisioBertone, said that the delegation would likely travel to Syria next week.

The group will consist of seven churchmen, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Holy See's top official for inter-religious dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and the archbishop of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa.

Syrian official sources have not yet confirmed the date of the visit.

On September 15, the pontiff, calling himself "a pilgrim of peace," denounced as a "grave sin" the transfer of weapons from any country to Syria.

"The import of weapons has to finally stop. Without the import of arms the war cannot continue. Instead of importing weapons, which is a grave sin, we have to import ideas of peace and creativity." said the Pontiff.

The United States and other western nations are providing terrorist groups in Syria with weapons. In addition,  the Obama administration has not denounced the reported arming of these groups by certain Gulf states and other nations.

 B. Qaddour

Source: agencies