No Bet on Solving Crisis in Syria By Force-Lavrov

MOSCOW,(ST)_ Russia 's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that using force will not solve the crisis in Syria, as the need to "resolve it" through dialogue increases.
Russia Today online quoted Lavrov as saying in the opening of Russian-Arab Forum on Tuesday in Moscow: "Regarding the conflict in Syria, we can conclude that the bet to make a settlement by the use of force from any side will not lead to the desired result".
Lavrov added that his country does not only support dialogue between the government and the opposition , but even help to "create favorable conditions on the ground of agreements ratified in Geneva, proposed by the UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi ."
Concerning what is taking place in the Middle East Lavrov said that Moscow is dissatisfied with the course of events in this region, noting "we are concerned about the emergence of hotbeds of armed conflicts in the region , the high proportion of extremism and terrorism and uncontrolled proliferation of weapons."
"We believe that the" Arab League "is required to play the main role in settling disputes arising in the Arab world, including efforts to resolve internal conflicts and create conditions for direct comprehensive national dialogue involving all political forces , ensuring the rights of all communities, minorities , without external interference ." Lavrov continued.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict Lavrov noted the need to unite the efforts of both the "Quartet" and Arab League.
However, works of the first Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum was launched in Moscow today (Wednesday). Conditions in Syria , the Palestinian issue and latest developments in Libya , Sudan, Yemen and Somalia will be on top of the Forum 's agenda.
In an inaugural speech, Lavrove said :" We hope that the Forum helps to expand various relations between Russia and the Arab League," pointing out that the Memorandum of Understanding on the forum was signed in December , 2009."
For his part, Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Ukashevich said that "Moscow pins great importance on launching the cooperation process with the Arab League , in light of the significant progress in the Russian-Arab cooperation in all areas ."
The Forum t is expected adopt a joint statement and a plan of action for the next three years.


T. Fateh

Arms supplies to Syrian opposition fuel further bloodshed ,says Gatilov

Increasing foreign arms supplies to the Syrian opposition fuel more bloodshed in Syria and undermine efforts to normalize the situation and bring the sides to the negotiating table, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, a Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

He stressed that Russia has been supplying military equipment and weapons to Syria under bilateral contracts signed long before the onset of the crisis in Syria .


Russian Humanitarian Aid to Syria Arrives at LattakiaAirport

MOSCOW, (ST) -Two Russian planes carrying tones of humanitarian aid to Syria arrived on Tuesday at the Syrian Lattakia Airport.

Earlier, Spokeswoman of the Russian Emergencies Ministry Irina Rossius told Itar Tass news agency that "the two emergencies planes Il-76 and Il 62 are to leave for Lattakia from Moscow on Tuesday carrying 44 tones of humanitarian aid."

She said that one of the planes carries tents, electricity generators, kitchen stuff and foldable furniture, while the other includes food stuff.

 Rossius pointed out that the planes will be ready to evacuate Russian citizens who want to leave Syria.

In another development, the Russian Defense Ministry has decided to keep Russian warships in the Mediterranean. The decision comes in the light of the results of the naval military exercises Russia had carried out last month.  

 "Russia Today" website quoted a source at the Russian Defense Ministry's media office as saying that that Russia is sending four more warships to the Mediterranean Sea to join an escort ship and smaller vessels that are already on duty in the region.

Meanwhile, Russia renewed its commitment to the contracts of technical military cooperation with Syria.

Deputy Director of the Federal Agency for Technical Military Cooperation with Foreign Countries said in a statement on the sideline of the International Arms Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, that Russia sends only defensive arms to Syria and "we have to implement the signed contracts since today there are no UN sanctions on Syria."  

He stressed the "regime" in Syria is legitimate and has been elected by the Syrian people. "For this reason, Russia maintains its cooperation with Syria regardless the current events, he said, adding that the future of Russian-Syrian technical military cooperation "depends on the development of the situation in this country."

H. Mustafa 

Russia, US Pin Hope on Syrian Government- Opposition Dialogue- Lavrov


BRUSSELES,(ST)_  Russia 's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday  that Moscow and Washington are convinced of the need to exploit the opportunity may availed by the Syrian government negotiations with the opposition.

Russia Today quoted Lavrov as saying in a press statement "I talked  with US Secretary of State  John Kerry about Syria.. about signs of hope that both the government and the opposition seriously agree on the need for dialogue ".

Lavrov added :  "We have discussed how can we help to that  preconditions should not  block the road to such a dialogue .. Moscow and Washington are convinced of the need to  fully exploit this opportunity and both sides to do  everything possible  in order to settle secondary issues   because it is important, to bring  parties on  the dialogue table and both sides  to  try to take advantage of this opportunity. "

Lavrov pointed out that he agreed with Kerry to meet soon , noting :"We agreed during a telephone call meet soon somewhere."
In another context, Lavrov confirmed that there is no government shipment headed  from Russia to Syria in the Finnish port of Helsinki and that Moscow is now working to clarify about this matter.
He continued that  "There were not any cargo on board  of the ship,  so we are going to investigate on the news reported on this matter."


EU Extends Sanctions on Syria

BRUSSELS, (ST) _ European Union foreign ministers have agreed to keep current sanctions against Syria in place for another three months.

RIA Novosti quoted Ashton as saying: “We…agreed to extend sanctions against Syria for a further three months and we are amending them so as to enable greater technical assistance for the protection of civilians,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in comments for the press on Monday following a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

“We will continue our help to the innocent victims of the conflict,” Ashton said, adding that EU humanitarian aid currently stands at 600 million Euros .

The EU, Syria's biggest trading partner, imposed economic sanctions the Syrian state  in 2011.

The sanctions include an arms exports embargo as well as travel bans and asset freezes on more than 120 individuals and 40 companies.

The EU has also banned crude oil imports from Syria and has blocked trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Syrian public bodies and the central bank.



Russia to send two planes with humanitarian aid to Syria

 The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is preparing to send two planes with 44 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Syria.

"Consistent with the directives of the Russian president and government, it is planned to take humanitarian aid to the population of the Syrian Arab Republic suffering from hostilities," says a report published on the ministry website on Monday, Voice of Russia, Interfax .

Ilyushin Il-62 and Il-76 jets from the ministry will take aboard respectively 11.02 tonnes and 33.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid, the report said.

The date of the planes' departure to Syria has not been reported.


Lavrov, Kerry discuss crisis in Syria

 Speaking on the telephone Sunday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry looked into ways to stop violence and start up a dialogue in Syria .

They also agreed to stay in contact and meet in person in the near future, according to Voice of Russia, Interfax

Meanwhile,The overdue meeting between Russia’s top foreign official Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry may be held in March, Lavrov’s deputy Sergei Ryabkov has told Russian media.

Mr. Ryabkov said no meeting in person would probably take place until the end of February, adding the US and Russia were talking over details.

“It’s not clear yet, what tours they will be on and whether their routes will cross,” Mr. Ryabkov noted.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an agreement has been reached on talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry within in a few weeks.

"I know a tour of the Middle East is one of his nearest priorities. This is easy to understand. An agreement has been reached to hold talks within weeks. We will negotiate the venue and date additionally," Lavrov said on the "Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov" program on Rossiya-1 television on Sunday.

Russia’s foreign policy is independent, principled, not time serving, and for these reasons it attracts international recognition and respect. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about this on Russian television Sunday.


India Renews its Opposition to Foreign Interference in Syria

NEW DELHI, (ST) - Indian National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon, confirmed that his country opposes any military intervention in Syria and India is against such interference and the solution must be Syrian with a complete cessation of violence.

 In a speech at the conclusion of the International Conference on Emerging Trends in West Asia and its Security Implications in the Region, Menon added that "India strongly supports the democratic aspirations of the people in West Asia but not to the extent of supporting the compulsive change of regimes ."

 "Societies can't be reordered from abroad through military force and we have only to look to the instability stemming from Libya to the coastal area and the crisis in Syria. " Menon said.

"The current challenges in the region prepared a  suitable atmosphere for extremist groups to exploit and pursue their agendas and stir regional instability and sectarian division,"  the adviser pointed out.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict Menon said: "Our support for peace in the Middle East is initially steady and India is the first non-Arab country to recognize the State of Palestine," adding that his country is against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region."

Sh. Kh.