US Strike on Syria Will Make Obama ‘War President’ – Russian Lawmaker

MOSCOW– Launching an attack on Syria would make US President, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barack Obama “a war president” a senior Russian lawmaker wrote on Twitter Friday,according to RIA Novosti.

 “They said Obama does not want to go to war in Syria. This myth was demolished by Obama himself. He has eventually turned into a “war president,” a second [George W.] Bush,” said Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, and who has earned himself a reputation as a prolific Tweeter.

Obama recently asked the US Congress to support a limited military intervention in Syria because of the government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

The Senate's Foreign Relations Committee approved a motion backing a military strike Wednesday, with a final vote expected next week after Congress reconvenes Monday.

In another comment on Twitter last week, Pushkov said President Obama should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize if the United States carries out a military strike on Syria.

 

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Pop star Madonna slams US plans for war on Syria

US pop star Madonna criticized the proposed American military intervention in Syria,according to Voice of Russia, RIA Novosti.

Madonna has appealed to the authorities not to carry out the operation in Syria.

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Georgia rules out participation in military operation in Syria

Georgia's involvement in the crisis in Syria has been ruled out, Deputy Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakly Alasania also excluded earlier on Thursday that Georgian may take part in a military operation in Syria.

"The issue of a military operation has yet to be solved, but according to preliminary data, our partners do not plan a ground operation. That is why we did not even consider this issue," Alasania told journalists.

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UN personnel don't intend to leave Syria - Ban Ki-moon

Despite the danger to its staff in Syria the United Nations and its partners intend to stay in that country and continue their work, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Friday in relation to the humanitarian situation in Syria.

He added that the UN staff in Syria numbers 4,500 people.

Thoughtless military action against Syria can have extremely grave consequences - Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that a military scenario in Syria would be followed by serious and tragic consequences.

Addressing G20 leaders on Friday in relation to the humanitarian situation in Syria, he warned that a thoughtless military action could lead to serious and tragic consequences and also to greater religious discord.

We must find ways of avoiding the further militarization of the conflict and of reviving the search for a political solution instead, he said.

"Every day that we lose is a day when scores of innocent civilians die. Providing more arms to either side is not the answer. There is no military solution," he said addressing G20 leaders.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will notify the UN Security Council about the findings of the investigation of instances of the use of "chemicals" in Syria as soon as he is informed himself.

"After the team informs me of the outcome, I will report promptly the results of that investigation to the Security Council and all Member States," he said addressing G20 leaders.

"I also appreciate the cooperation of the Government of Syria in this regard," he said.

Ban Ki-moon urges G20 leaders to convene conference on Syria

At the meeting with the G20 leaders in St. Petersburg on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the need for a speedy convocation of Geneva-2 on Syria.

He urged the G20 leaders to strictly observe the UN Charter with any response to the potential use of "chemical weapons in Syria.

The UN highly appreciates the Syrian government’s assistance in investigating the reports about a chemical attack in the vicinity of Damascus, Ban Ki-moon said.

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Crisis in Syria Dominates Day 1 of Russia’s Global Economy Summit

ST. PETERSBURG– The first day of the G20 summit, traditionally a platform for economic debate, was dominated Thursday by the crisis in Syria, with Russian President and summit host Vladimir Putin proposing that world leaders discuss over dinner the United States’ call for a military strike against the Syrian government, according to RIA Novosti.

Putin told the summit’s opening session at the Constantine Palace on the outskirts of St. Petersburg that it would be best if discussions about Syria took place during the evening meal Thursday so as not to distract from pre-planned agendas in the event’s other meetings.

The gathering of the Group of 20, a club that includes countries with two-thirds of the world’s population and over 90 percent of its economic output, was expected to tackle issues of financial regulation, shadow banking and tax avoidance, but it has become increasingly overshadowed by US President Barack Obama’s call for American military intervention in Syria.

Putin has led international opposition to such intervention. He has said that an attack on Syria without the backing of the United Nations Security Council would be an act of “aggression” and has accused the US Secretary of State John Kerry of deliberately lying about the situation inside Syria.

Obama appeared increasingly isolated Thursday as, after flying in to St. Petersburg, other world leaders openly expressed their opposition to a military intervention against Damascus.

The two most senior European Union officials, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Barroso, called for a “political” solution to the Syrian crisis during a joint press conference in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

“The situation remains a stain on the world’s conscience,” Barroso said. “The European Union believes that efforts should be evolved towards a political solution to the conflict.”

China also spoke out against unilateral US military action in Syria, warning that such action could lead to severe economic problems.

"Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price – it will cause a hike in the oil price," Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a briefing, Reuters reported.

Even the Pope appeared to enter the debate with a letter to the G20 leaders calling on them to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” in Syria, according to a copy of the letter posted on the Vatican’s website. 

Moscow has repeatedly insisted that the United Nations is the only body that can legitimate military action in Syria, a position that Peskov reiterated Thursday.

 “In international relations, the only organ that can make a legitimate decision about the use of force is the United Nations Security Council – not the Russian parliament, not the US Congress,” Peskov said.

The G20’s focus on Syria was reflected in last-minute additions to the guest list. Unusually for the G20, some foreign ministers will be in attendance.

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Lavrov and Kerry discuss situation in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the situation in Syria. Russia continues to firmly adhere to the agreements reached at the G8 summit in Loch Earn in June, said Lavrov,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

"This means that the expert conclusions on all cases of possible use of chemical weapons in Syria should be submitted to the UN Security Council, which will make decisions. We oppose the use of force by-passing this mechanism," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a report posted on its official website on Thursday.

The ministry specified that the phone conversation was on Kerry's initiative and addressed the situation with Syria.

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Russia says combat operations against sovereign state without UN sanction is aggression

MOSCOW- Combat operations against a sovereign state launched without a United Nations Security Council sanction will be considered as an act of aggression, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told journalists on Thursday,according to ITAR TASS.

 “I would like to cite our president who said that the sole body authorized to take a decision to use force against a sovereign state is the United Nations Security Council,” he said. “Vladimir Putin put it absolutely straight that any other actions against a sovereign state sanctioned by any parliament or a congress should and will be considered as aggression.”

He said that meeting with US and "Israeli "defense attaches he had warned them against further fanning tensions in the Mediterranean Sea. “On behalf of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, I asked them to call on the US and "Israeli " officials not to drive the situation to extremity,” Antonov noted. “Our task is to preserve peace and stability in this region, to do our best not to let the situation become critical.”

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Merkel: Germany not to take part in possible military actions against Syria

STRELNA, St Petersburg - Germany does not intend to take part in possible military actions against Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Thursday,according to ITAR TASS.

 “Germany will only take part in providing "humanitarian assistance" to the crisis  in Syria,” Merkel said.

 “This war should be put an end,” the German chancellor said, adding that the crisis could be settled by only political means.

In addition, Merkel warned against high expectations that the G20 summit will find a solution to the crisis in Syria. “This possibility can be discussed and the summit gives us the chance. Who talks tries to reach mutual understanding,” Merkel said.

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