Oil prices climb on upbeat China data

NEW YORK, (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rose on Monday after a series of Chinese economic data came in better than expected.

Chinese shares rallied on Monday as data showed China's new bank loans and monetary supply for July came in higher than expected, pushing up investors' confidence.

Last week, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Friday that the country's industrial output growth picked up in July, rising 9.7 percent year on year.

China also released a set of surprisingly good trade data for July last Thursday. Export and import growth jumped to 5.1 percent and 10.9 percent in July, beating market expectation of 2 percent and 1 percent respectively.

China is the world's No. 2 economy after the United States. China's strong July data boosted market confidence.

Oil prices were also supported as Libya shut its biggest oil export terminal Es Sider Monday. Interruptions at ports across Libya decreased the country's oil production to 800,000 barrels a day in July.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 14 cents, to settle at 106.11 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent for September delivery went up 75 cents, to close at 108. 97 dollars a barrel.

Sh. Kh.

Indian concern over Destruction in Syria by Terrorists

 NEWDELHI,(ST)_ Indian Minister of State for Development and Human Resources Shashi Tharoor expressed India people and government sympathy and concern over the destruction Syria is exposed  to at the hands of subversive groups, stressing the importance of the historical relations between the peoples of the two brotherly countries.

"We are annoyed over what is happening in Syria and we want this state to maintain its secularism,  eliminate its ordeal and the Syrian people to enjoy security, peace and prosperity," the Indian minister said during his meeting with Syrian Ambassador to India, Dr. Riad Abbas yesterday.

 The Indian minister expressed his country's readiness to support Syria in the field of education and human resources development, welcoming the idea of promoting education. He proposed a draft agreement to the Syrian side to ratify it after agreeing its content.

For his part, Ambassador Abbas expressed appreciation and thanks to India's stances towards what is taking place in Syria and its assistance in all fields, especially in the area of education and grants.

The Syrian ambassador during the talks gave a detailed explanation on the extent of destruction and devastation in the education sector in Syria at the hands of armed terrorist groups, which do not want to Syria and its people development and modernity, but the elimination of the Syrian civil society, pointing out that the education in Syria which is free and compulsory is exposed to serious damage as terrorists are targeting teaching schools and universities.


T. Fateh

Lavrov, Ibrahimi discuss prospects of holding Geneva 2

MOSCOW, (ST) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Ibrahimi discussed the prospects of convening an international conference on Syria(the Geneva Conference 2)which is intended to launch the Syrian national dialogue.

Lavrov and Ibrahimi reiterated the importance of the inter-Syria dialogue without preconditions with the aim of halting  violence and finding a political solution to the crisis..

This was announced on Monday by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia and the US in May this year initiated to hold the "Geneva 2" conference on Syria which is intended as a continuation of the meeting that was held on June 30,2012.

However, Washington continued to play on  double standards, as the US ,on the one hand, announce  its support for a political solution while, on the other hand, support and arm terrorists in Syria.



Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Three US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan's eastern borderlands on Sunday, US and Nato officials said, the first Nato combat deaths this month.

The soldiers, from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed by insurgents in Paktia province, a US official told Reuters.

Paktia is one of several provinces that border Pakistan and have endured some of the highest levels of fighting during the US-led 12-year war in Afghanistan.

US soldiers based in Paktia are rarely involved in combat operations since handing over security responsibility to Afghan security forces earlier this year. They now primarily train their Afghan colleagues.

The Nato-led mission has about 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan, of which about 68,000 are American. Those numbers are expected to reduce sharply before the official end of the Nato-led combat mission on December 31, 2014.

More than 2,100 US soldiers have died during the war in Afghanistan.


Irish Writer :Saudi Rulers Pour Money into Arming Terrorists, Takfiris in Region

The authorities of Saudi rulers are causing enough havoc and bloodshed across the Middle East and North Africa regions, pouring millions-of-dollars-worth of weaponry into Al Qaeda and other Takfiri networks that are destroying once proud civilizations in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and other countries, underscored Irish writer Finian Cunningham.

In an article published by the Press TV yesterday, Cunningham said "the Saudi rulers’ agenda of covert terrorism - an agenda that serves their Western masters - is not well concealed. This is because the Saudi state intelligence leaves a trail of self-incriminating clues wherever it goes."

Cunningham referred to the latest reports which disclose that the Saudis tried to bribe Russia into abandoning Syria. Apparently, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan dangled a $15-billion arms deal in front of Russia if it gives up its strategic alliance with the Syriangovernment.

"The Saudis seem to think that everyone else can be bought at a price," he said.

The Irish writer went on to say that from past Saudi arms deals with British Premier Margaret Thatcher, involving multi-million-dollar bribery, kickbacks and other corruption, but in Russia, Russian sources said that Putin rebuffed any such treachery with the Saudis.

What is significant here is that the disclosure of this sleazy business - thanks to Saudi unintelligence - represents a fatal gaffe for the whole Western-coordinated conspiracy against Syria, Cunningham said.

He added that for the past two years, the US, Britain and France have sedulously contrived a narrative that they are supporting a so-called "pro-democracy uprising” in Syria.

Cunningham added that astute observers are already aware of the Western criminal conspiracy against Syria. Nevertheless, it is valuable when this conspiracy is exposed and admitted to by the co-conspirators themselves.

According to Cunningham, Western political leaders, diplomats and media tend to be more savvy in the art of sophistry and deception. We can analyze and identify their criminal agenda, but it is rare to uncover an admission. But the reliably hapless Saudi rulers have done just that in their bribery attempt with Russia.

H. Mustafa

Official sees Chinese economic growth "stable"

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- President of the United Nations General Assembly Vuk Jeremic said recently that the Chinese economy is one of the strongest performers worldwide and offers optimism to the world economy.

Jeremic, president of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, made the comments in a joint interview with Chinese media in Beijing.

He said one of the most significant reference points to the world economy is China's economic situation. If China is going in the right direction, the rest of the world will be going in a good direction economically. If China is having difficulties, everybody is going to have difficulties.

In the first half of the year, China's economic growth slowed to 7.6 percent.

"The growth, which some people question that whether this is good enough or strong enough... I don't really think that there are too many countries in the world that can have 7.6-percent growth, a very stable one," he said.

"I understand that of the 7.6-percent growth rate, 7.5 percent can be attributed to domestic demand, so we are talking about really 'solid' growth, perhaps not 10 percent like China used to have," he added.

Jeremic praised China for showing the strength and resilience in the face of international challenges.

As to the global political and economic landscape, he believed the UN remained key to resolve the challenges in the 21st century by engaging everyone equally in the General Assembly. Although important organizations like the G20 are emerging, without the UN and UN General Assembly, there is no chance to resolve challenges in a satisfactory manner, he said.

The role of the emerging markets and developing countries will become stronger and the most significant element in this new geopolitical puzzle and the new landscape, as part of the wider global development, he noted.

The Millennium Development Goals will expire in 2015 and they need to be replaced by a new vision for world development for the next 20 to 30 years, he said.

World leaders at the Rio+20 conference in June 2012, agreed for the General Assembly to draft a development agenda for the 21st century. Over the next 24 months, the assembly will need to complete negotiations, achieve a consensus so the world will develop in a sustainable way, not exacerbate social differences and tensions in a country and between countries, and make the gap between the rich and poor smaller.

Jeremic said China plays a critical role in this process and looks forward to working with the country, hoping it will continue to play a constructive role in the UN.

Lavrov, Kerry : Furnishing the Ground for Geneva 2 on Syria

WASHINGTON,(ST)_ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry underlined the importance of achieving a political solution to the crisis in Syria, stressing the need to make efforts that furnish the ground to hold the next international conference on Syria in Geneva , as conducive to that solution.

In a joint news conference today with both Kerry and defense ministers , the Russian Sergei Shoigu and American Chuck Hagel in Washington , Lavrov said that "The Syrian issue ranks first in the list of our priorities, we emphasize the need to launch the political process and to hold the international conference on Syria, Geneva 2."

"The obligation to cooperate in order to combat terrorism not only in Syria but in other areas is the most important thing that the next international conference in Geneva will deal with , " Lavrov underlined, noting that other files will be discussed, such as Afghanistan , the nuclear program of Iran and the DPRK.

Lavrov stressed the need to strive "to avoid undermining security and stability , the spread of weapons of mass destruction  seek peaceful solutions for all crises of the international community and the adoption of political and peaceful solutions " pointing out that Russia " like the US wants to see things returning to normal even in Egypt, therefore the meeting of Moscow and Washington falls on the course of joint responsibility of both countries."

Lavrov explained that during today 's meeting, "shed light was made on laying a strong foundation for future work, which will enable the two countries to strengthen cooperation in other areas," pointing out that the two sides would discuss "international issues, international security and defense missile."

For his part, U.S. Secretary of State stressed that, whatever the Russian and US views on the subject of the crisis in Syria, "the final answer is the negotiating political solution," adding that the Geneva Conference 2 is "a step toward that solution."

"Although I and my colleague Lavrov do not fully agree about the responsibility of the bloodshed and the road to safety, we both in our two countries agree that to avoid the institutional collapse and chaos in Syria, solution of Syia, the final answer is the negotiating political solution and that Geneva Conference 2 is a step towards that solution." Kerry said.

"I look forward to a very frank and strong discussion on these issues and we welcome the Russian delegation in Washington, and look forward to fruitful meetings and full talks." Kerry added.

For his part, the Russian Defense Minister said that the Russian-American meeting today, "allowed debating issues of mutual concern, such as Syria and Afghanistan in addition to bilateral cooperation and means of boosting it " explaining "the need for more transparency."

"We started talking about defense missile which should be discussed in a detailed way , and I would like to thank the American fellows on the organization of this meeting," he said, adding, "We want to complete the big issues and events hosted by Russia in the presence of US colleagues."

The U.S. defense secretary also underlined that discussing common issues between Russia and the United States needs to be done "in a clear, direct and impartial manner and to find common factors that can be built upon in order to move forward to help solve the serious issues on time .


T. Fateh

Kerry: ultimate answer is a negotiated political solution

Russian and U.S. officials agreed on Friday on the need to convene a Syrian peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible and will meet again by the end of the month to prepare for the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Reuters quoted Minister Lavrov as saying that the mood of talks in Washington between the top U.S. and Russian diplomatic and defense officials was very positive.

Both Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged their sharp differences over Snowden and other issues going into the talks, which also included Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

"Edward Snowden did not overshadow our discussions," Lavrov told reporters, adding that he believed that case should not affect "mainstream" U.S.-Russia relations.

As the so-called "2+2" talks opened, Kerry said the two countries need to find ways to work around their sharp differences and make progress on missile defense, Afghanistan, nuclear disputes with Iran and North Korea and the two-year-old crisis in Syria.

"This meeting remains important above and beyond the collisions and the moments of disagreement," said Kerry.

While Washington and Moscow differ on key aspects of the Syria crisis, Kerry said, "Both of us and our countries agree that to avoid institutional collapse and descent into chaos, the ultimate answer is a negotiated political solution."

Hagel and Shoigu held talks earlier on Friday, and both said they agreed to work to expand military-to-military cooperation.

kremlin: No deal discussed with Saudi Arabia on changing Syria stance

During Vladimir Putin’s talks with Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar, the Kremlin said.“Putin didn’t discuss any deals,” the Russian president’s aide, Yury Ushakov, answered when asked by RT about media reports, which claimed that a $15 billion Saudi offer was put on the table during the Moscow talks on July 31.

"Specific issues of military-technical cooperation development and other aspects of bilateral cooperation weren’t on the agenda,” he stressed.

According to Ushakov, the talks were organized to clarifying the stance which each country takes in the Syrian conflict. Despite having opposing views on the issue, Moscow and Riyadh have “demonstrated a similar amount of concern” about the events in the war-torn Middle Eastern state, the aide said. 

M. Wassouf