Lavrov meets UN peace envoy in Moscow

A meeting between Russia’s foreign chief Sergei Lavrov and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has kicked off in Moscow.

The talks focus on an array of political and diplomatic issues around the crisis in Syria and Mr. Brahimi’s latest effort in stopping violence  in the region to launch a nation-wide dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition,according to Voice of Russia.

The UN peace envoy is reportedly poring over a compromise “road-map” plan based on the Geneva resolutions on Syria. The initiative is being discussed with each party to the conflict, media say.

The resolutions were laid down by the Syria Action Group that convened June 30 in Geneva.

The UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Brahimi arrived in Moscow from Damascus where he discussed a compromise “road map” for a settlement in   Syria, according to the media.

The First Deputy Syrian Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, paid a visit to Moscow yesterday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN special envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will discuss a range of issues in Moscow pertaining to resolving the situation in Syria.

This was announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. According to him, talks will focus on Brahimi’s efforts aimed at ending the violence in Syria and launching a national dialogue between the government and the opposition.

The international community should "not incite either side to continue violence , and refrain from setting preconditions," said Lavrov.

UN special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi hopes that the armed conflict in this country will be resolved next year. This was announced by the official spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Martin Nesirky.

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Russia hopes ‘reasonable’ Syrian opposition will seek dialogue

Moscow hopes that the Syrian opposition will substantially size up the situation in the country and search for ways to begin a political dialogue with Syrian government, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russian Television (RT) quoted Minister Lavrov as saying Friday that Moscow representatives have already had contacts with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces which was formed in November in Qatar, Lavrov said on Friday. Now Russian diplomats are ready to meet for talks with the leader of the group – Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. The National Coalition does not object to talks either.

According to Lavrov, Moscow was “certainly disappointed” over the coalition’s main goal, which was proclaimed when it was created in Doha. It stands for the overthrow of the Syrian regime and “the dismantling of all the institutions of power.”

Russia’s main concern is that such a scenario would only lead to non-stop violence in the Arab republic. The only solution is to reach a mutually-acceptable compromise between the rivalry parties.

In July, President Vladimir Putin said that in the case if the Syrian authorities are displaced, “they will simply swap places with the current opposition and this will cause a civil war that would go on for no one knows how long.”

Moscow has also repeatedly stressed that it is up to Syrians to decide the future of their country.

Speaking on Friday, Lavrov underlined that the international community should not incite the sides of the conflict to continue bloodshed. On the contrary, they should urge all the Syrian political, religious and ethnic groups to find ways to come to an agreement on what future they want for their country, the Russian Foreign Minister told the media after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Amr in Moscow.

Russia appreciates the efforts of Egypt – which hosts the Syrian Coalition’s main headquarters – in trying to convince the opposition to agree for a political dialogue, Lavrov added.

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Russia invites Syria opposition to negotiations

Russia has invited the head of the so-called Syrian Opposition National Coalition to join negotiations over the unrest in Syria.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday, “The invitation has been handed over. It is in the hands of Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

Bogdanov added that the talks could take place in the Russian capital, Moscow, or a foreign location like Geneva or Cairo.

Russia says its stance toward Syria has not changed, denying the existence of any plan with the United States.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the turmoil in Syria needs a political solution and that Moscow wants to avoid “chaos” in the Arab country.

Bogdanov also stated that there were expectations for three-way negotiations between UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and representatives of the US and Russia over the Syrian situation in January.

 "We will hear what Lakhdar Brahimi says about the Syrian crisis and likely there will be a decision on a new ‘triple B’ meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, (US Deputy Secretary of State) William Burns and Mikhail Bogdanov,” he said.

On December 26, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad together with another foreign ministry official headed to Moscow to discuss proposals reportedly made by Brahimi in Damascus earlier this week.

Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria in March 2011. The Syrian government says certain Western states, especially the United States, and their regional allies are trying to fuel the unrest.

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Peace settlement the only way out of crisis in Syria ,says Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called a peace settlement of the crisis in Syria the only way to deal with it without violating agreements of the Geneva Communiqué.

Speaking at a Moscow meeting with Syria’s deputy foreign chief Fayssal Mikdad Thursday, Mr. Lavrov stressed a nation-wide dialogue was key to the political process in the country.

He added the main goal so far was to stop violence in Syria ,according to  Voice of Russia, Interfax

The Geneva Communiqué was endorsed by the Action Group for Syria on 30 June.

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French journalist denounces conspiracy against Syria

Paris,(ST)_French journalist Alan Gul has stressed that "Syria is  a victim of  unprecedented conspiracy, said French journalist Alan Gul .

" the world has never witnessed an alliance between fundamentalists and the so-called Western Democrats,added Gul.
In an article published on his website yesterday, Gul denounced   the conspiracy  against sovereignty of Syria."  Initially we did not know the real motives for all this rooted hatred and lying, but we finally know that the reason is the destruction of Syria. "
"the loyalty of the majority of the people and the Syrian army has made enemies of Syria do not know any way to behave for destruction .. They have fabricated everything  trying to intimidate the true friends of Syria,"concluded Gul.

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UN envoy to Syria to visit Russia this weekend,says Bogdanov

The international envoy on Syria will visit Moscow this weekend for talks on the crisis, a senior Russian diplomat said Wednesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that U.N  envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will arrive in Moscow on one-day visit Saturday, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

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Bomb Explodes Near US Facility in Afghanistan

A suicide car bomber has detonated explosives near a U.S.-run military facility in Afghanistan, killing three civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place on Wednesday near the facility known as Forward Operating Base Chapman.

In 2009, seven U.S.Central Intelligence Agency employees and a Jordanian worker were killed at the base in a suicide bombing by an al-Qaida-linked agent. 

The facility is located in the eastern city of Khost, a volatile region near the Pakistani border.

There were no reports of NATO casualties in Wednesday's blast, which also left seven people wounded.

The attack comes two days after a female Afghan police officer shot and killed an American adviser in Kabul, an incident that once again raised concerns about the ability of Afghan authorities to manage security after most foreign troops pull out in 2014.

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Russian Scholar: Terrorists Use Religion to Carry out Crimes in Syria

MOSCOW, (ST) - Chairman of the Scholars al-Iftaa House for all Russia, Sheikh Farid Salman, has affirmed that the armed terrorist groups exploit Islam and religious slogans to implement their criminal acts in Syria, stressing that Islam is quite innocent of their acts.

"Islamic slogans are a powerful weapon, terrorists are trying to use to perpetrate their terrorist acts in Syria," Sheikh Salman said pointing out that the bombings, acts of kidnapping people and crimes committed by terrorist groups are temporary works because Islam is an eternal religion and will keep being the religion of right and good word.
"Victory over terrorist groups and mercenaries will be a victory for Islam," he said, adding that Syria will emerge victorious over these mercenaries and terrorists.
Sheikh Salman referred to the frequent attempts made by Western powers and reactionary Arab states to support acts of sabotage in Syria, the same as some Arab and Islamic states are sowing discord in countries like China, as well as Central and South East Asian states.
He highlighted the key role played by Syria in its struggle against fierce terrorist groups and extended best wishes for the Syrians challenging the forces of evil and terrorism.

Meantime, a Russian people delegation presented the Syrian people with the Icon of Christ the Savior, which as commonly believed in Russia helped the Russian people to achieve victory over fascism.

Russian Cleric Nikolay Samanov, who presented the icon, stressed that it will help Syria achieve victory over its enemies.
"We all know that a fierce war is declared against Syria and its people and that every Russian, who belongs to the Church which was built by Saints Peter and  Paul,  knows that this war, which is being waged by Western , regional and Arab countries against Syria, will not undermine Syria's sovereignty and position in the hearts and minds of the Russian people," said Samanov upon presenting the icon to the  Syrian ambassador in Moscow Dr. Riad Haddad.

T. Fateh