Russia denies asking to put off UN Security Council’s conference on Syria

Russia has denied asking to put off a UN Security Council’s conference on Syria. The meeting was initially set for yesterday, September 10,according to Voice of Russia.

Russian foreign ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich today said that Moscow had moved to hold a meeting on Syria, but the decision to postpone it was made by request of the Council’s members.

Russia reacted to a BBC-circulated report that it had allegedly asked the UN Security Council to put off a September 10 conference on Syria till a later date.


Retired CIA Analyst: US’s Evidence on Syria Chemical Attack Fabricated

Elements within the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have fabricated intelligence to implicate the Syrian government in the recent chemical attack in Syria and cater for Washington’s case for launching strikes on the Middle-Eastern country, said a retired CIA analyst,according to FNA.

 Ray McGovern made the remarks in an interview with Russia Today (RT) channel on Monday amid the US rhetoric of war against Syria.

The US has all along the way been insisting that it has strong “evidence” against the Syrian government while refusing repeated calls to release it publicly.

 “The media is drumbeating for the war (on Syria) just as before Iraq,” McGovern said. “And they don’t want to hear that the evidence is very flimsy. They don’t want to hear that people within the CIA - senior people, with great access to this information - assure us, the veterans, that there’s no conclusive evidence that the Syrian government ordered those chemical incidents on August 21.”

McGovern was among the veteran intelligence professionals who recently signed a letter to US President Barack Obama, warning that Damascus was not behind the August 21 chemical attack in the country and that CIA Director John Brennan “is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, and the public.”

Obama “is being given cooked-up intelligence because John Brennan, the head of the CIA, and James Clapper, the confessed perjurer, have thought it in their best interests to cater to the wishes of the White House, which have been very clear: ‘this time, we want to strike Syria,’” McGovern concluded.

The US president, who has faced very weak support for his war plans, said on August 31 that his administration would first seek authorization from an already skeptical Congress.

Reports indicate a majority of Congress members are either against the planned strikes on Syria or are yet undecided. The mood in the Congress seems to mirror that of the general American public, which, polls show, is largely opposed to any US strikes on Syria.

The UN, Iran, Russia, and China have been voicing strong opposition to the US plan for war.


Russia Passes Proof of Chemical Weapon Use by Terrorists in Syria to UN Security Council - Pushkov

Syrian armed groups possess chemical weapons, and Russia has given proof that they have used these weapons on Syrian territory to the UN Security Council, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee head Alexei Pushkov said at a Duma plenary session on Wednesday.

According to the Voice of Russia, the Duma plans to issue a statement on the situation in Syria later in the day.

"There are suspicions that the militants have used these weapons repeatedly," Pushkov said.

He added that, in particular, Syrian armed groups used chemical weapons near Aleppo in March and that this was acknowledged by Carla Del Ponte, a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Saying that Moscow possesses evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Pushkov said, "Russia has just passed existing proof to the UN Security Council."

H. Mustafa

Putin: Syria chem arms handover will work only if US calls off strike

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syria’s chemical arms handover will only work if the US and its allies renounce the use of force against Damascus.

"Certainly, this is all reasonable, it will function and will work out, only if the US and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country – Syria or any other country in the world – to unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration," President Putin said on Tuesday. 

According to Russia Today,Putin said the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons had been extensively discussed by experts and politicians.

The Russian president said that he and President Barack Obama had “indeed discussed” such a possibility on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg last week.

It was agreed, Putin said, “to instruct Secretary of State [John Kerry] and Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] to get in touch” and “try to move this idea forward.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry will propose a draft statement by the chairman of the UN Security Council, supporting the initiative to transfer Syria’s chemical weapons to international control.

The issue was discussed during a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius.

“[Lavrov] said that Russia, on its part, is submitting a draft statement for the UN Security Council’s chairman, welcoming the… initiative and calling on the UN Secretary General, the general director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and all the interested parties to make efforts to facilitate the implementation of this proposal,” the ministry’s statement said. 

At the same time, Syria said it was ready to completely give up chemical weapons and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“We are ready to show sites with chemical arsenals to Russia’s representatives, as well as representatives of other states and the UN,”
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV.

In response to Russia’s proposal, Obama said he was willing to “absolutely” put on pause a military strike on Syria if the Syrian government accepts the offer.


Former hostage says" FSA" is on brink of break-up

The Western-backed "Free Syrian Army" is tittering on the brink of collapse, says Pierre Piccinin, who has only recently been saved from rebel kidnappers after he was abducted in April together with La Stampa’s journalist Domenico Quirico,according to Voice of Russia.

Piccinin said in an interview with La Libre Belgique that the Army’s militant groups are now breaking apart, with some insurgents going back home, some joining the radical al-Nusra Front, and yet others staying. But those who choose to fight on, he added, are .

The former hostage, who went through hell over the past five months and even faced two mock executions, stressed that the Syrian army had never gassed civilians.

After their release on Sunday, Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin and Italian journalist Domenico Quirico were flown to Rome, where they were met by Italy's foreign minister. Rumour has it they were freed in exchange for a ransom, though officials have denied this allegation.

The Belgian national has already been kidnapped in Syria before. In May 2012, terrorists in Syria held Piccinin hostage for six days, but eventually set him free when they felt there was no money in it.


Russia Sends Destroyer Smetlivy to Syria

Russia has dispatched another warship to Syria, the Navy’s spokesperson announced, according to FNA.

The guard-ship Smetlivy of the Black Sea Fleet is sailing from its home port in Sevastopol to patrol the waters off the Syrian coast, Voice of Russia reported.

The guided missile destroyer is to set sail between September 12 and 14. The spokesman said the warship would not drop at Novorossiysk and would head directly to the Mediterranean.

Russia previously sent three ships to the Eastern Mediterranean to bolster its fleet there. These include the Moskva missile cruiser, which is due in the Syrian coastal waters on September 17, as well as the corvette Shtil and missile boat Ivanovets that will approach Syria by September 29.

The Priazovye reconnaissance ship has also reportedly boosted the group of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships in the Eastern Mediterranean. On Friday, the intelligence ship passed through the Dardanella Strait accompanied by two landing ships, Minsk and Novocherkassk, and joined the Mediterranean armada.


UN experts should return to Syria to continue chemical attack probe - Lavrov

The elaboration of a plan for placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control does not make the verification of every report on the use of chemical weapons and the return of UN experts to Syria unnecessary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"This work does not make the verification of all reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria unnecessary," he said after negotiations with Libyan counterpart Muhammad Abdelaziz,according to Voice of Russia.

"UN experts should return to Syria and fully implement their mandate before presenting a report to the UN Security Council, which would consider the whole body of evidence, including testimonies of numerous experts, public organizations, religious leaders and others," Lavrov said.


US Senate Republican leader McConnell to vote against Syria force resolution

US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he would vote against the current resolution authorizing US military force in Syria, in a blow to President Barack Obama's hopes of passing the measure,according to  Voice of Russia, Reuters

"A vital national security risk is clearly not at play," in Syria, McConnell said in a statement that made him the only one of the top four US congressional leaders to oppose the resolution.

He said there were "too many unanswered questions" about US strategy in Syria, and the proposed strike may be a "mere demonstration," while a Russian proposal to secure the weapons was worth exploring.

Meanwhile the speaker of the US House of Representatives said on Tuesday that the American people are not supportive of President Barack Obama's position on Syria .

"The American people have not been supportive. They have not made the sale to the American people. That's why I think tonight is so important," John Boehner told a news conference, referring to Obama's planned speech to the U.S. nation on Tuesday night on Syria.