Lavrove, Kerry Met on Syria

BRUNEI,(ST)_ Russian  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry in Brunei that the United States recognizes that the key to the process of a political solution to the crisis in Syria is now through bringing together and uniting  "the Syrian opposition on the basis of Geneva statement  issued on June 30 , 2012.

However,  the Syrian crisis and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden are the hot-button topics Tuesday at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Brunei.

"We remain committed, particularly given the increases in violence, to the notion that there must be a negotiation. And I’ll have that conversation in full with Foreign Minister Lavrov, and hopefully together we might have something to be able to report to you after that conversation," said Kerry, according to news reports . 

"And we are very much hopeful that the concept of a peaceful resolution is the only way to try to save Syria," Kerry said. "And there is no, as I have said many times, military solution to the problem of Syria." Kerry underscored.

 

T. Fateh

Russia urges U.S. to clarify stance on Geneva talks about Syria

Russia has called on the United States to clarify its position on the Geneva 2 conference on Syria, which is aimed at ending the crisis in the country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. should provide details on the joint Russia-U.S. initiative of convening an international conference about the turmoil in Syria.

At a joint press conference in the Russian capital, Moscow, on May 7, the Russian foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to encourage the Syrian government and the foreign-backed militants to find a political solution to the crisis.

Moscow and Washington also agreed to hold an international ‘peace conference’ on Syria in Geneva, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting in June 2012.

Lavrov is also expected to participate in the session of ministers of the East Asia Summit, where he will discuss the Syrian issue with Kerry. The East Asia Summit is due to be held on July 1-2.

 “We expect that the meeting with John Kerry that will take place in the sidelines of the events of the East Asian Summit on July 1-2 in Brunei will make it more clear what position the United States holds regarding the joint Russian-U.S. initiative on the convocation of an international conference on Syria,” Lavrov said.

Syria has been gripped by unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.

Source: Press TV

M.W.

Germany to charge UK, US over spying

Reports last week revealed that the British spy agencies along with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had tapped German phone and internet traffic, sharing its data with the NSA."

Germany Federal Prosecutor's Office says it is preparing to bring charges against US and British intelligence agencies over large-scale spying operations on EU offices, a new report says,according to Press TV.

The British daily The Independent reported on Sunday that Germany’s Office of the Federal Prosecutor is preparing charges following “fresh allegations that the [US and UK secret] services spied far more extensively than thought on German phone and internet traffic.”

On Monday, Germany announced that it was summoning the US ambassador over the breach in trust.

If the allegations are true, the massive surveillance program would demonstrate “unacceptable Cold War style behavior toward Berlin,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In another development, the German news weekly Der Spiegel accused the US National Security Agency (NSA) of bugging EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels.

The magazine said US spy agencies monitor about half a billion telephone calls, emails and mobile phone text messages in Germany every month, making it the most targeted state in the European Union.

Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand were not included in NSA surveillance operations but Germany was open for “spy attacks,” Der Spiegel added.

Reports last week revealed that the British spy agencies along with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had tapped German phone and internet traffic, sharing its data with the NSA.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that his country will no longer negotiate with the United States in any area without guarantees that spying has ended.

    "There can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas until we have obtained these guarantees, for France but also for all of the European Union, for all partners of the United States," Hollande noted.

 The accusations against US and UK intelligence services came after secret US documents were released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The American whistleblower has assured that the information he obtained about US surveillance programs will continue to be published.

In the beginning of June, Snowden leaked documents that revealed the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been secretly gathering information of American citizens and other people all around the world.

R.Sawas

Lavrov: Washington Should Clarify Stance on Intl. Conference on Syria

BRUNEI, (ST)- Russia's Foreign Minister Sergi Lavrov has stressed that the United States should clarify its stance on the initiative to hold an international conference on Syria.

In statements on Monday ahead of his meeting with US State Secretary John Kerry on the sideline of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Brunei, Lavrov  said that "during my meeting with Kerry  I expect clearer stance by the United States on the joint American-Russian initiative to hold an international conference on Syria."

Last  May, Lavrov and Kerry had agreed to hold an international conference to solve the crisis in Syria based on Geneva statement understandings.

H. Mustafa

New York Times: Qatar Ignored Washington's Warning, Kept Giving Missiles to Terrorists in Syria

WASHINGTON — The American "New York Times" revealed on Sunday that the Obama administration warned its Arab allies to keep one type of powerful weapon out of the armed terrorist groups' hands: heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles.

In a report published on its website, the newspaper said that  U.S. officials warned that the missiles could one day be used by terrorist groups, some of them affiliated with al-Qaeda, to shoot down civilian aircraft.

"One country ignored this warning: Qatar, the tiny, oil-and-gas-rich emirate that has been shipping arms to the armed groups fighting the Syrian government since2011," the newspapers added.

It quoted four U.S. and Middle Eastern officials with knowledge of intelligence reports on the weapons as saying that Qatar has used a shadowy arms network to move at least two shipments of shoulder-fired missiles to Syrian gunmen.

According to the newspaper, deployment of the missiles comes at a time when U.S. officials expect President Barack Obama's decision to provide "limited effort" to arm the armed groups in Syria might be interpreted by Qatar, along with other Arab countries supporting the terrorists, as a green light to drastically expand arms shipments.

The newspaper pointed out that Obama, during a private meeting in Washington in April, warned Qatar's former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani about the dangers of arming Islamic radicals in Syria, although U.S. officials have been wary of applying pressure on the Qatari government.

It said that the United States has little leverage over Qatar on the Syria issue because it needs the Qataris' help on other fronts. Qatar is poised to host peace talks between U.S. and Afghan officials and the Taliban. The U.S. Central Command's forward base in Qatar gives the U.S. military a command post in the heart of a strategically vital but volatile region.

The newspaper noted that Qatar's covert efforts to back armed groups in Syria began at the same time it was increasing its support for opposition fighters in Libya.

The Obama administration quietly blessed the arms shipments to Libya of machine guns, automatic rifles, mortars and ammunition, but U.S. officials later grew concerned as evidence grew that Qatar was giving the weapons to Islamic militants there, according to the New York Times.

The newspaper said that U.S. and Arab officials have expressed worry about something similar happening in Syria, where extremists in the north have turned into the most capable section of the "opposition", in part because of the flow of weapons from Qatar.

H. Mustafa

China Calls on US to Avoid Double Standards Concerning Terrorism

BEIJING, (ST)_ Spokeswoman for the Chinese  Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said Friday that China hopes the United States will avoid using a double standard when discussing terrorism.

The Chinese News Agency Xinhua  quoted  Hua  as saying in  response to a question about U.S. remarks regarding a violent attack that occurred on Wednesday in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The police shot and killed 11 rioters at the scene and captured another four who were injured.

The U.S. said it is closely following the reports of violence, as well as urged China to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to provide due process and legal protection to those have been detained.

"We have taken note of the remarks made by the U.S. State Department spokesman," Hua said, adding that China is unsatisfied with the spokesman's remarks, as well as U.S. criticism of China's ethnic and religious policies

She said the Chinese government protects the rights of people of all ethnic groups in accordance with law, including their freedom of religion.

China hopes the U.S. will work with the international community to fight terrorism and enhance international anti-terrorism cooperation, she added.

The  spokesman for the U.S. State Department Patrick Ventral said earlier that the United States remains "deeply concerned"  over what he called a "news about the discrimination and restrictions against Uighurs" in China

Worthy mentioning a  total of 24 people have been killed by rioters in the attack in Lukqun Township in Xinjiang's Shanshan County. The rioters attacked the township's police stations, a local government building and a construction site, as well as set fire to police cars. Twenty-one police officers and civilians were injured.

 

T. Fateh

Russia and Morocco constructively cooperate in UN on Syria - Lavrov

"Russia and Morocco constructively cooperate in UN and other organizations on Syria and many other international issues. We are preparing joint documentation package that will strengthen contractual legal framework," said Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov during the joint discussions with his Moroccan counterpart Saad Addin Al-Osmani in Moscow, Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Sergei Lavrov said that “Russia and Morocco constructively cooperate in UN and other organizations on Syria and many other international issues”.

"Initially Russia and the US agreed on holding Geneva-2 talks without any preconditions, but now the opposition claims to observe “the military balance”, Lavrov added.

Saad Addin Al-Osmani replied, that “Thanks to Russia’s constructive stand in UN we managed to get relative stability in Mali”, and added that “Morocco and Russia share their stance on settling of a crisis in Syria”. Al-Osmani stressed that Rabat supports holding the Geneva-2 talks on Syria.

Speaking about holding the Geneva-2 talks on Syria, Sergei Lavrov said, that "Initially Russia and the US agreed on holding Geneva-2 talks without any preconditions, but now the "opposition" claims to observe “the military balance”.

"Russia insists on holding a conference in the parameters that were discussed initially, and the fact that the Western countries are now supplying weapons may mean that they support the existence of pre-conditions. I will ask US Secretary of State, John Kerry, about the emerging issues on the subject during my visit to Brunei next week," Lavrov said.

"I hope that the joint stand of the Group of Eight at Lough Erne will be observed by the G8 members and by those countries that participate in the settlement of the crisis in Syria," Lavrov added.

Lavrov overturned the Guardian reports that the Russian embassy in Damascus would close on July 1. “These are rumors and speculations,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov also denied the reports that the Russian base in Tartus is closing. “The embassy and the base are working in routine mode”, Lavrov said.

Speaking about war on terrorism Sergei Lavrov noted that “we are preparing joint memorandum on antiterrorism protection, and probably we will sign it during my visit to Morocco”.

M.D

UNSC extended UNDOF mission in the Golan

NEW YORK (ST) _ UN Security Council on Friday renewed the mission  of the  United Nations Disengagement Observer Force  ( UNDOF) in the occupied Syrian  for a period of six months.

Reuters reported that the decision which was issued unanimously  stressed the need to strengthen protection of the UN mission.

UNDOF personnel were exposed to frequent attacks and kidnappings by armed terrorist groups and subsequently Austria announced its decision to withdraw its troops operating  within UNDOF.

 

T. Fateh