Lavrov calls on Council of Europe for Impartial Approach to Ukraine Crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Secretary General of the Council of Europe, ThorbjørnJagland, for an impartial approach to the Ukrainian situation, the Russian Ministry announced following a telephone conversation, initiated by Jagland, between the politicians, Voice of Russia reported.

"The situation in Ukraine was a central topic of the negotiations between the two officials," the Ministry said. Sergei Lavrov expressed his concern about the unrest in Ukraine caused by the actions of far-right protofascist political organizations undermining the peace deal signed on February 21, and threatening peace, stability of the society and people's safety."

"Both sides agreed that the decisions made by the VerkhovnaRada should conform to Ukrain's obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights," the Foreign Ministry said.

"The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, called on ThorbjørnJagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to show an impartial approach to the Ukrainian situation. He also pointed out that some decisions by the VerkhovnaRada contradict the standards of the CE as they infringe upon the language rights of Russians and other nationalities, living in Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry added.

Lavrov:Russia not to interfere in Ukrainian affairs and expects Western countries to do the same

Western partners should not interfere in Ukrainian internal affairs but use their contacts with various political forces in that country for peacemaking, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent KiraKalinina reports. "A mutual profound concern has been expressed regarding the fact that processes are not always constructive," Lavrov said after negotiations with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn.

 "We reaffirmed our principled position of non-interference in Ukrainian internal affairs and we expect everyone to abide by similar logic and use contacts with various political forces in Ukraine for the promotion of peace," he continued.

One should not try "to gain some time serving unilateral advantages at a stage when national dialogue and the return of the entire situation to a legal field are required," the Russian Foreign Minister said.


Russian official: Armed groups attacking aid convoys in Syria

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin accused anti-Syrian armed groups of sabotaging the process of aid supplies to the war-stricken regions.
Russian official: Armed groups attacking aid convoys in Syria
Talking during the Saturday session of the UN Security Council, he said certain governments are after gaining their own political interests from the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Slamming these governments for following such attitudes, he stressed the process of providing aids to war-stricken areas is facing serious problems now due to dominance of armed groups there.

He further called on all warring sides to help supply humanitarian assistance to war-stricken people.

During the same session, Chinaˈs representative to the international body too expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Syria and urged the Security Council to act impartially in this regard and try to safeguard peace, stability and territorial sovereignty in Syria.



Unanimously approved, Security Council resolution demands aid access in Syria

22 February 2014 – The United Nations Security Council today unanimously approved a resolution to boost humanitarian aid access in Syria, a move Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said can at least ease some civilian suffering, if it is implemented quickly and in good faith.

Through Resolution 2139 (2014), the Council demanded that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders.

The 15-member Council also called for an immediate end to all forms of violence in the country and strongly condemned the rise of Al Qaida-affiliated terror attacks.

Members insisted that all parties cease attacking civilians, including through the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, such as shelling and aerial bombardment with barrel bombs, whose use has been condemned by senior UN officials.

Mr. Ban, who participated in the rare Saturday meeting, welcomed the resolution but added it should not have been necessary as humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated but allowed by virtue of international law.

He expressed profound shock that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war, and noted that reports of human rights violations continue, including massacres, as well as sexual and gender-based violence against children.

In the resolution, the Council strongly condemned the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and urged all parties involved in the conflict to lift sieges of populated areas, including in Aleppo, Damascus and Rural Damascus, and Homs.

The resolution builds on the Presidential Statement adopted four months ago, which stressed the need for immediate action to protect civilians and give access to people in need.

In today's resolution, the Council emphasized that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution and expressed support for the UN-sponsored direct talks between Government and opposition representatives.

Source: UN Website


Telephone conversation with President of the United States Barack Obama

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Barack Obama. The conversation was initiated by the American side.

Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama had a substantive discussion on current issues on the bilateral and international agenda, including the situation in Ukraine. The President of Russia stressed the need to take immediate measures to stabilise the conflict, emphasising the importance of working with the radical opposition, which has taken the confrontation in Ukraine to a very dangerous point.

The two leaders noted the constructive nature of their bilateral cooperation on the Iranian nuclear programme; they agreed to continue cooperating actively on this matter.

The Presidents of Russia and the United States exchanged views on the progress made in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, as per the signed agreements. The two nations’ foreign ministers will continue working closely together with the aim of advancing the peace process in Syria, taking into account the talks in Geneva.

Barack Obama congratulated Vladimir Putin on the successful Olympic Games in Sochi.


Source: Russian President Website

Lavrov, Kerry Discuss Syrian Situation Over Phone

MOSCOW- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed the situation in Syria and the deteriorating health of Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted by a US court in 2011, over the phone on Tuesday, the Voice of Russia reported.

 "The Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State discussed a number of key international topics, including the situation around Syria," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.

Lavrov "once again emphasized that the health of Russian citizen Yaroshenko, who was given a lengthy prison sentence in the US, is critical, demanding that Russian doctors be allowed to conduct a comprehensive medical check-up and that he be provided with high-quality medical care," according to the Ministry.

The telephone conversation took place at Washington's initiative.

Lavrov had stressed that there is no alternative for Geneva Communiqué to solve the crisis in Syria.


Russia against blaming one side for lack of progress in Syria talks

MOSCOW, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia urged the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, not blame one side for the lack of progress in the Syria talks.

Commenting on the second round of the Geneva talks that ended on Saturday, February 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “It was a difficult dialogue, given the serious difference in the approaches assumed by the Syrian authorities and opposition with regard to a political-diplomatic settlement in Syria and priorities in solving existing problems,” the ministry said on Monday, February 17.

 “At the final plenary meeting, Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi suggested agreeing the draft agenda based on the key issues contained in the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012,” the ministry’s statement said.

The delegation of the Syrian government supported in principle the special envoy’s proposals and reaffirmed its readiness to continue working on this basis and to come for the third round of talks when its date was set. Priority was given to the fight against terrorism.

Russia notes “the positive commitment of the government delegation to active participation in the negotiations,” the ministry said. Moscow believes that “the focus on joint anti-terrorism efforts of the Syrian sides is necessitated by the fact that the country attracts more and more jihadists and Islamic radicals of all sorts who use the struggle against the legitimate government of Syria for achieving their own ideological goals.”

“Increased terrorist activity poses a threat to security and stability not only in Syria but in the region as a whole,” the statement said. “With this in mind, the G8 leaders in Lough Erne in June 2013 stated in their official communiqué the need for all Syrians to pool their efforts in the fight against terrorists in order to drive them out of the country,” the ministry said.

“We are convinced that active and systemic work to build trust between the authorities and the opposition is necessary in order to make the inter-Syrian dialogue more sustainable. This is a challenging task, given the drawn-out and bloody nature of confrontation in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday, February 17.

“Much in this situation depends on the activity of Lakhdar Brahimi, who as an international mediator has been mandated to pursue an impartial and objective policy by encouraging the opponents to look for common denominators, conduct the dialogue and continue the talks,” the ministry said. “In doing so, the special representative should not drift towards unilateral accusations or lay all the blame for lack of progress in the dialogue on any one side,” it added.

“No alternative to diplomatic solution”

Russia “continues to believe that there is no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis in Syria,” the ministry said. “We believe that only the Syrians themselves can reach agreement on the future state system of the Syrian Arab Republic on the basis of mutual consensus and in strict compliance with the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012,” the statement said.

“We urge the parties to the inter-Syrian talks to continue the efforts aimed at finding ways to advance the peace process, while taking into account each other’s interests and showing readiness to make compromises when making decisions,” the ministry said. “It would be instrumental if the parties agreed general principles that would reaffirm the sovereignty of Syria, its territorial integrity and guarantees for the rights and security of all ethnic and religious groups.”

Geneva II talks to be continued

The second round of inter-Syrian talks ended officially in Geneva on February 15, and the parties are set to continue their discussions, but the date of the next round is yet to be determined.

Brahimi said the agenda of the next round had been agreed and consisted of four points: violence and terrorism, a transitional governing body, national institutions, national reconciliation, and a national dialogue.

He said the last session of the second round was “as laborious as all the meetings we have had, but we agreed on an agenda for the next round when it does take place.”

Brahimi admitted that “these two rounds have not come out with very much.”

The envoy said the government and opposition delegations had agreed with the proposed agenda, but the government negotiators had not yet approved the manner in which the discussion would be conducted.

The government delegation pledged to continue the talks at the Geneva II international conference until results were achieved, Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari said.

“We are set to achieve a result, and we will press for a constructive dialogue. We will be back to Geneva,” he said.


Commitment to Geneva Communiqué

The diplomat stressed, however, that Israel and the sponsors of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces were trying to undermine the process and were not showing good will.

 “The violence must be stopped first, and we should go step by step when discussing the Geneva Communiqué, starting with terrorism,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said earlier this week.

Mekdad described as unconstructive the position assumed by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which insists on starting the discussion with a transitional governing body.

The goal of the international conference on Syria known as Geneva II is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

The Communiqué lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.


China Calls for Continued Talks to Reach Political Solution to Crisis in Syria

BEIJING (ST ) _ China called today for continued political talks in the framework of the Geneva Conference 2 in order to reach a solution to the crisis in Syria and urged " the parties in Syria " to "support international mediation efforts " of the UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and " to maintain momentum for these talks ".

The Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted the spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chun Ling as saying that Geneva talks is an ongoing process which requires the Syrian government and the opposition to maintain gradual " confidence-building " through negotiations and find a solution to the crisis in Syria, adding: " We can not expect to solve all the problems during one or two conferences. "

"China urges the parties in Syria to adhere to a political solution to combine and support Brahimi 's efforts, and maintain momentum of the talks,” she noted calling on the international community " to exert more efforts to promote talks and create a favorable external environment."

However, the international conference on Syria Geneva 2 revealed the extent of the hypocrisy of the United States and its international and regional allies, and their attempt to escalate the situation in Syria and foil a political solution for its crisis.


T. Fateh

Russia Won't Allow Using Humanitarian Issues to Interfere in Syria

MOSCOW-Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that there is no alternative for Geneva Communiqué to solve the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov, who was speaking in a joint press conference with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh on Monday, said that the so-called "opposition coalition" represents only a very small part of the whole Syrian opposition, pointing out that many opposition members inside Syria are forming a new body that seeks participation in Geneva talks.

 Lavrov pointed out that some parties are deliberately attempting, through fabrications and lies, to blame the Syrian government for brutal crimes committed in the country, but "Russia won't pass any Security Council resolution leading to intervention in Syria under humanitarian pretexts."

H. Mustafa