Brahimi urges Iran to attend Geneva talks on Syria

UN-Arab League Special Representative on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has reiterated his call on Iran to participate in the Geneva 2 conference which is expected to be held on the ongoing crisis in Syria.

During a Monday phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Brahimi described Tehran’s role in resolving regional issues as highly significant and constructive,according to Press TV.

Brahimi further expressed willingness to continue negotiations with the Islamic Republic in an effort to find a political solution to the crisis in   Syria.

Zarif, for his part, stressed Tehran’s eagerness for close cooperation with the United Nations and Brahimi on the Syrian issue.

On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in the Russian capital, Moscow, to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.

The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready to take part in the peace conference without any preconditions in an effort to help end the unrest in the country.

On August 19, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said high-ranking Russian and US officials are due to meet in The Hague next week to discuss preparations for the conference.

M.D

European Solidarity Front for Syria: Syria Exposed to Western-Backed Interference

Representative of the European Solidarity Front for Syria Patrick Fondak stressed that Syria is experiencing foreign interference based on the West's flagrant support for armed and terrorist groups, according to FNA.

"The Syrian people stand at one side, while the extremists from the regional and foreign countries, who are financed by Qatar, are standing at the other side," Fondak told the Czech Halo Noviny newspaper on Tuesday.

He asserted that the West strongly supports the armed terrorists groups in Syria.

Fondak warned against the flow of European citizens to fight along with the armed terrorist groups, adding that those "jihadists" put the security of Europe at stakes in case they return to their countries.

He described the EU decision to lift the embargo on supplying the armed groups with weapons and intensifying the ban on sending goods to the civilians in Syria as a "scandal".

He announced that the European Front will organize an event on August 31 at Vatislav Square in Prague in protest against the EU decision.

R.S

Russia worried about Syrian refugees forced to flee violence

MOSCOW- The Russian Foreign Ministry voiced serious concern about Syrian refugees who have to leave their homes because of the violence that has swept the country,according to ITAR TASS.

 “Russia pays much attention to helping all affected Syrian citizens, including refugees in neighboring countries. Our aid goes to all without exception,” the ministry said on Tuesday, August 20.

About 1.7 million Syrians have fled their country up to date, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. “They have to look for shelter in neighboring countries, fleeing rampant violence committed by extremists and the distressful situation caused by the economic collapse and unilateral sanctions imposed upon Syria by the United States and the European Union,” the ministry said.

 “The attention of the international community is riveted to the north-eastern districts of Syria where the flow of refugees is heading to Iraq .Thousands of people, including many women and children, are abandoning their homes, fleeing the atrocities of "militants" from the terrorist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” the ministry said.

M.D

Russia, US to discuss Syria next week

Top Russian and US officials will meet in The Hague next week to discuss preparations for the international peace conference on Syria. That’s according to Russia's deputy foreign minister.

“This meeting will take place in the middle of next week in The Hague,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency.

The meeting will also involve Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy, an unnamed Russian diplomatic source separately told news agency ITAR-TASS.

Neither Gatilov nor the diplomatic source disclosed which Russian and US officials would be meeting, nor the exact date of the talks.

Moscow and Washington agreed in May to conduct the Geneva 2 talks

Gatilov said last week that the Geneva 2 meeting itself would probably not happen until October at the earliest because of a busy diplomatic schedule in September that includes UN meetings in New York.

The negotiations are based on the results of a Syria peace conference held in Geneva in June 2012.

M.D

Sweden's Royal Appear in Palestinian Scarf

Sweden's royal couple have been appeared in  "Palestinian scarves" on a visit to Härnosand as part of the King's 40th jubilee celebrations.

The scarves featured writing in Arabic, which translates as "Our Aqsa and not their temple", a reference to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, newspaper Sundsvalls Tidning reports.

M.D

US turns situation upside down when accuses Syria of reluctance to attend Geneve-2 without preconditions - Russian FM

The United States turns the situation upside down when accusing Syria  for reluctance to participate in the international conference Geneva-2 without preliminary conditions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Polina Chernitsa reports.

"Deputy for the [US State Department] spokesman has made another awkward statement that the difficulties in calling the Geneva-2 are allegedly related to the reluctance of the Syrian government   to participate in this forum without preliminary conditions. Such a statement is turning the entire situation upside down, to put it mildly," Lukashevich said on Friday.

"The Syrian Authorities supported the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012 from the very beginning," the diplomat said.

"The problem with organizing the calling of the Geneva-2 conference is namely that the "opposition" is not ready to participate in this forum and sets preliminary conditions for its involvement in the format, which are unacceptable for the Syrian authorities," Lukashevich said.

"Our US colleagues, who told us repeatedly that they would pursue actively the participation of the Syrian "opposition" in the conference without preliminary conditions, are well aware of this," Lukashevich said.

Russia wants unbiased UN inquiry into Syria chemical arms use

The Russian authorities hope to see a thorough and impartial investigation into possible instances of chemical weapons use in Syria, the Voice of Russia correspondent Polina Chernitsa reports.

"The Russian side welcomes the recently achieved agreements permitting a group of international experts to begin working in Syria, which, albeit a little belatedly, is opening the path for a thorough and impartial investigation into possible instances of chemical weapons use on Syrian territory," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

"This mission should be sent to Syria within the next few days. The UN experts will work there for 14 days, but their stay there may be prolonged if both sides [the Syrian government and the UN Secretariat] agree to it," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said. 

UN chemical weapons experts may arrive in Syria on Friday 

The secretariat of the United Nations acknowledges that a team of chemical weapons inspectors may arrive in Damascus on Friday, but refuse to disclose details of their trip, citing "security concerns".

M.D

Gatilov Commended Syria's Readiness to Receive UN Team on Chemical Weapons Use

MOSCOW, (ST)_ Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov  viewed Syria 's consent to receive the UN Experts Team  to investigate the use of chemical weapons as signifying  willingness to clarify this issue of using such weapons  in the Syrian  territory. 

Russia today  website quoted Gatilov as saying in his account on Twitter yesterday that " Syria 's approval to t receive  UN experts indicates the willingness of Damascus to clarify the use of chemical weapons, adding that this willingness creates a positive ground to  move towards launching the  political process to resolve the crisis in Syria." 

The UN and Syria announced, by the end of last month, following the visit of the  Investigation Committee delegation in the  use of chemical weapons, reaching an  agreement on the Committee' s work. 

Noteworthy ,Syria demanded a UN investigation on using chemical weapons by the armed terrorist groups in Khan al-Asal area in  rural Aleppo on March 19, which resulted in killing or wounding scores of  innocent civilians, including women and children. 

T. Fateh 

UN Says Chemical Team's Departure to Syria 'Imminent'

The United Nations said Wednesday the departure of a team of chemical weapons inspectors to Syria was "imminent" following a green light from Damascus, according to the Voice of Russia.

"The Government of Syria has formally accepted the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said in a statement.

"The departure of the team is now imminent," he added.

The statement said the team led by Swedish arms expert Ake Sellstroem would investigate the sites of chemical attacks in the country for a period of at least two weeks.

The United Nations last month reached a framework agreement with the Syrian government on the mission but had been awaiting a final green light from Damascus.

One of the sites to be investigated is Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, where armed terrorist groups used chemical weapons on March 19, killing at least 26 people, including 16 Syrian soldiers.

"Our goal remains a fully independent and impartial inquiry," the UN statement said.

Sellstroem is to be joined by 10 experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization.

H. Mustafa