Lavrov: Negotiations on a peaceful settlement of the crisis should be conducted by the Syrians themselves

Informal contacts between representatives of the Syrian government and the "Syrian opposition" planned in Moscow will not necessarily bring about a successful result, but this chance cannot be missed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to Voice of Russia.

"I don't know how successful this meeting will be, but we are deeply convinced that this is a chance that must not be missed," Lavrov said in an analytical program on the TV Center channel on Saturday.

Moscow expects that representatives of Russia, the US and the UN will be able to agree upon the representation of all strata of Syrian society and all relevant external players at the Geneva II conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"There are quite a lot of problems [with preparations for Geneva II]. However, I am still optimistic, because another preparatory meeting will take place at the end of November between US and Russian experts, in which UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will take part and which other UN Security Council permanent members will join later," Lavrov said in an interview shown on the TV Center television channel on Saturday.

The Russian minister insisted that negotiations on a peaceful settlement of the conflict should be conducted by the Syrians themselves  . However, the international conference will be opened with involvement of external players, "who influence the situation this or that way or bear responsibility for maintaining peace and security."

In particular, he mentioned the UN Security Council permanent members, the "Arab League "and  Turkey among such.


Senior Russian, US diplomats talk about Syria chemical arms

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday met with US Acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, who is on a working visit to Russia,according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.

Ryabkov and Gottemoeller discussed "the Syria issue, including the task of destroying the Syrian chemical weapons," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website,

They also raised "key issues of Russian-American relations and international security with emphasis on problems of arms control and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction," it said.


Putin orders ministry to send medical aid to Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the health ministry to send medical aid to Syria to deal with the country's "difficult health situation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday.

Putin announced the decision after a phone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad on Thursday, requested by the Russian side.

The leaders discussed anticipated peace talks and the process of dismantling the  chemical arsenal.

Russia's medical aid will include medicines and medical materials, as well as first aid treatment packages, Peskov said,according to Voice of Russia, RIA.


OPCW Adopts Plan to Destroy Chemical Weapons in Syria

MOSCOW- The world's chemical watchdog on Friday adopted a final roadmap for eliminating chemical weapons in Syria by mid-2014, hours before a deadline expired, a spokesman said.

"The plan is adopted," Christian Chartier, a spokesman for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said after a meeting of its 41-member Executive Council in The Hague.

The talks at OPCW headquarters in The Hague broke off twice before agreement was reached, as delegates thrashed out the final draft.

A team of UN-OPCW inspectors has been on the ground since October checking Syria's weapons and facilities.

Destruction of declared chemical weapons production facilities was completed last month and all chemicals and precursors placed under seal, the OPCW said last month ahead of a November 1 deadline backed by a UN Security Council resolution.

Sigrid Kaag, the joint OPCW-UN mission coordinator, told Friday's OPCW meeting: "We are keen finish the work by June 30, 2014," pointing out that inspectors are working in critical circumstances and in "an extreme security situation". Her statement included no details about the plan of eliminating chemical weapons in Syria.

H. Mustafa 

Lavrov, Brahimi expect Russia, US, UN to settle all issues concerning Geneva-2 on Nov 25

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi expressed the hope in a Friday telephone conversation that all unsettled issues regarding the organization of an international conference on Syria known as Geneva-2 will be resolved in Geneva on November 25, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement available on its website.

"The hope was expressed that all issues remaining unsettled, including the set of external participants in the future forum, will be agreed upon at the upcoming consultative meeting in the Russia-US-UN format in Geneva on November 25," it said, according to Voice of Russia, Interfax.


Lavrov: Delay of Geneva-2 to Cause more Bloodshed in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Geneva II conference on Syria should be held without delay because any delay will increase the number of victims in this conflict, according to the Voice of Russia.

 "Everyone agrees that this forum should take place as soon as possible. Every day of delay means death and suffering for many people. For this reason, it is important that the conflicting parties have negotiations in Geneva," Lavrov said in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

"There is no military solution to the crisis in Syria," the minister said.

Lavrov also commented on the situation in Egypt, saying that Russia believed the Egypt's political problems must be resolved through peaceful, evolutionary means and a nationwide dialogue involving all social parties concerned.

He said Russia "feels that, despite the multi-facet problems faced by Egypt, its people will be able to find an efficient way of solving them on their own and take into consideration each and every interests of each and every political, ethnic and sectarian group."

Lavrov also said that Russia's foreign office never prohibited its tourists from travelling to Egypt, but only cautioned them against visiting this Arab country.

"The Russian government may advise not to travel to a country due to the state of emergency or other circumstances that can hamper its ability to protect its citizens. That is the kind of concern that the Russian Foreign Ministry made after the Egyptian Republic declared a state of emergency in August of this year."

H. Mustafa

Russia Stresses Readiness to Join Efforts to Eliminate Chemical Weapons in Syria, Condemns Terrorist Acts against Syrian Civilians

 MOSCOW - Russia decisively condemns terrorist acts against Syria’s civilians and indiscriminate strikes of Damascus’s residential quarters, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday following a recent mortar strike in Damascus, according to Itar Tass.

“The number of mortar attacks, carried out by illegal armed groups, has evidently increased,” the ministry said referring to recent mortar attacks on a school in Damascus and a bus carrying pupils that claimed the lives of a total of nine children. Other 27 people received wounds of varying severity, according to the agency.

“We decisively denounce terrorist acts against Syria’s civil population and indiscriminate attacks on Damascus’s residential areas,” the ministry said. “We have an impression that activation of extremists is targeting at disrupting in this responsible moment the preparation for convening an international conference on Syria dubbed as Geneva II before the end of the year.”

In this respect the Russian Foreign Ministry “has once again insistently called on all those, who can exert influence on militants, to do this within the framework of the international community’s collective efforts aimed at stopping violence in Syria.”

 Russia can give Syria hand with chemical weapons destruction – official

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov announced Wednesday Moscow was ready to offer the UN-based chemical arms watchdog technical and expert help with eliminating chemical weapons stockpile in Syria.

According to the Voice of Russia, Gatilov said Russia was also considering sending some $2 million worth of financial aid to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is monitoring the country's deweaponization

"We are looking into this issue together with the OPCW. As a matter of fact, Russia is quite willing to help them out with technical advice, experts and even financially," the deputy foreign policy chief said.

H. Mustafa

Russia hopes "opposition coalition" to attend Geneva talks

Russia’s foreign office said Tuesday it hoped the "the opposition coalition"  would deliver on its promise to attend Geneva peace talks and sit down at the negotiating table together with a delegation of the Syrian government and other opposition organizations, such as the National Coordination Committee and the Kurdish High Council.

Moscow also said it expected the "Coalition" to join in the nationwide talks with no strings attached, according to Voice of Russia.

Russian diplomats stressed that the Geneva-2 conference would be based on conditions listed in the Geneva Communiqué on June 30, 2012 and endorsed in the UN Security Council’s 2118 resolution.

The Geneva agreement stipulates that the future of Syria shall be determined through a nationwide dialog on conditions of unanimity, the ministry pointed out.