Cuba supports Syria,says Cuban FM

HAVANA(ST)-Cuba reiterated its solidarity with Syria against foreign interventions in her internal affaires.

"the Cuban leadership is fully recognized the ongoing events in Syria ,looking forward to solve the crisis in Syria based on the benefits of the Syrian people and respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence," affirmed Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues.

Rodrigues' remarks came during a meeting held in Havana with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaires and Expatriates Faisal al-Miqdad.

Rodrigues pointed out to the Syrian peoples' struggle against misleading media campaigns stressing that his country will spare no effort to back the Syrian people .

For his part,al-Miqdad highly praised Syrian-Cuban relations calling on bolstering these ties in all fields.

"the ongoing crisis in Syria is definitely a result of foreign intervention and of unlimited support the armed terrorist groups received by some neighborhood states,EU and the USA,"said al-Miqdad.

"the Syrian leadership is keen to solve the crisis in Syria through the national dialogue and realizing the Syrian peoples' aspirations.




Asia-Pacific to Launch Talks on Giant Free Trade Zone

Southeast Asian nations will launch talks this week for a giant free trade pact with China, Japan, India and other neighbors aimed at easing the region's reliance on the struggling West, according to AFP.

The planned zone would span across 16 countries of the Asia-Pacific that currently account for a third of global trade and economic output, making it the biggest free trade area outside the World Trade Organization.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, described the initiative as strategically very important to the Asia-Pacific as it would help offset weaknesses in the United States and the European Union.

"Fast growth in trade within the Asia Pacific region could significantly mitigate the weak growth prospects in Asia's traditional growth markets in the EU and US," he told AFP.

"The (pact) could provide the framework for accelerating regional trade and investment flows, reducing the dependence of East Asia on the traditional EU and US export markets and boosting trade amongst Asian developing countries."

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will launch the start of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on Tuesday in Phnom Penh on the final day of a regional summit.

The RCEP would bring together the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said a successful RCEP would further cement a shift in global economic power from the West towards Asia.

"The trend is already here. It's how to consolidate. This one is going to be a big leap forward if we can make it," he told AFP in an interview on Sunday on the sidelines of an ASEAN leaders' summit.

Diplomats and analysts said the RCEP could also serve as a "counterbalance" to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), another planned free-trade grouping currently being negotiated by the United States and 10 other countries.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, said it was only interested at this point in the China-dominated pact.

 "We're only going to be focused on the RCEP," Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan told reporters in Phnom Penh.


Brazil aims to enhance the UNSC's role on the crisis in Syria

BRAZILIA, (ST) – Brazil has voiced deep concern over the escalation of violence in Syria as regards  arming the Syrian opposition as some countries such as France who had  affirmed that there is a possibility of arming foreign-backed groups in Syria.

Brazil's firm stance towards the crisis in Syria was stated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tovar Nunes .

Nunes made it clear that his country aims at boosting the UNSC's role concerning the crisis in Syria .


China Calls upon International Community to maintain stability in the region

BEIJING, (ST)- "Any plan adopted by the international community on Syria should help in solving the crisis,"stressed Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei.

Lei  called upon the international community to contribute to maintaining stability in the region, commenting on remarks made by the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius as regards arming the terrorists groups in Syria. 

Lei's remarks came during a regular press conference held by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday.

"Any procedure to be taken by the international community should contribute to halting the acts of violence in Syria and finding a peaceful solution to the crisis, " Xinhua News Agency cited Lei's statement.


Putin: We Refuse Chaos in Syria

MOSCOW, (ST)_ There are certain sides wanting  chaos in Syria and Russia refuses that because Syria is close to the borders with Russia ," said the Russian President Vladimir Putin in a joint press conference  with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, noting the need  to know about all issues  relating to the  political future  of all ethnic and religious minorities in Syria, before making changes".

Putin, on the other hand, expressed Russia 's concern over the situation in Gaza Strip, noting , that Russia and Germany 's stances towards this issue are almost identical.

Meantime, the Russian foreign minister Sergey lavrov renewed the call to quickly halt  all forms of violence  in Syria  and create the conditions to launch a comprehensive  political dialogue , agreed by all the Syrians on the future of their country.

"  We are worried about the growing activity  of terrorist groups and the escalation of violence  in Syria  , because this will be conducive to  the bloodshed  and the killing of civilians," the Russian Foreign minister  said.
Lavrov remarks were made  in a message  he extended  to participants  in the 39th
session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)  currently held in Djibouti.


T. Fateh

World leaders head to ASEAN summits


Key world leaders including re-elected US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao along with estimated 1,700 foreign media persons are arriving for the ASEAN summits with the expectation of strengthening ties, officials said on Friday according to China Daily.

The 21st Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related Summits will be held from Nov 18-20 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

The events will bring together all ASEAN leaders and ASEAN's dialogue country leaders including US President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.   

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be a notable absentee from the conference.

The host of world leaders is expected to discuss economic and political issues during the three days.

There will also be several agreements to be signed between the host country and China during Prime Minister Wen's visit, Cambodian government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told media. 

ASEAN integration, economic and financial issues, regional security, among others, will be on top agenda in the forthcoming summit.       

The launching of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation together with ASEAN Regional Demining Centre will address common concerns among the members.

Global financial issues and pushing the agenda on ASEAN's connectivity goal to be a European Union-like bloc by 2015 will also top the agenda.

The large number of international media expected to cover the meeting is an indication of world attention. The Cambodian government has worked hard to provide the necessary infrastructure with banks of computers and tents prepared for the media.

Pakistan to host D-8 Countries summit on Nov: 22

Leaders of the Developing Eight (D-8) countries will meet in Islamabad on 22 November for the Eight Summit Meeting at the invitation of the President of Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry has said, according to IRNA.

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi, President of Indonesia Susilo BambangYudhoyono, President of Nigeria Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Prime Minister of Turkey RecepTayyip Erdogan will attend the Summit, a Foreign Ministry statement said. Malaysia is likely to be represented by Deputy Prime Minister. Confirmation of participation by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is awaited.

D-8 is a multilateral grouping of eight emerging economies of the Muslim world that represent different regions. It reflects combined population of around one billion and a market of about one trillion dollars. The member countries envisage increasing intra D-8 trade to over US$ 500 billion by 2018.

Pakistan will take over the chairmanship of the D-8 for the next two years until 2014. The event is of extraordinary significance as it is poised to adopt the Organization’s Charter and its Global Vision.

In a special ceremony following the Summit meeting, the leaders will witness signing ceremony of the Charter by the Foreign Ministers. The leaders will also adopt Islamabad Declaration 2012 reaffirming their joint resolve to make concerted efforts to confront common challenges.

On the margins of the Summit, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will hold bilateral meetings with visiting leaders. The forthcoming Summit will witness visit of an Egyptian President after four decades and that of a Nigerian leader after around 28 years. The visit of D-8 leaders to Pakistan will open new vistas for expanding trade and investment relations with all D-8 countries.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will inaugurate the D-8 Trade Exhibition and D-8 Business Forum and on 19 and 20 November, respectively. Both events will be flagship events of the D-8 Summit to be attended by top corporate leaders from Pakistan and other members of the Group. Given the government’s efforts to promote interaction with the private sector, these business activities will provide a solid platform at which Pakistan’s public and private sector will be able to showcase wide possibilities in joint ventures and investment. The Business Forum will focus on infrastructure development, value-addition in textile sector, opportunities of joint ventures in alternate energy, engineering, and agro-based industries.

In addition to the leaders, Foreign Ministers, senior government officials, governors of central banks, heads of trade promotion organizations, business leaders and exhibitors will also participate in the main and sideline activities. Prior to the Summit, preparatory meetings of the D-8 Council of Ministers (comprising the Foreign Ministers) and the D-8 Commission will also be convened on 21 November and 19-20 November, respectively. Our Foreign Minister will chair the Council meeting.

The meeting of the governors of central banks of D-8 countries will make recommendations for cooperation on financial and monetary issues. The meeting will also discuss the impact of global economic crisis, cooperation through trade and capital inflows, and development finance.

The Meeting of D-8 heads of trade promotion organizations and Trade Exhibition together with an interactive Seminar will be spread over 4 days. These events will provide an occasion to Pakistan’s private sector to exchange information on existing potential and learning about other markets.

President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate and chair the Summit session, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of the founding of the D-8 and will focus on the theme of “Democratic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity”.

Austria for Halting Violence in Syria, for a political Dialogue




VIENNA,(ST)_ " Violence should be stopped in Syria and a political dialogue should start between the  government and the opposition", said  The Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka on Wednesday.

" Solving  the crisis in Syria militarily is but  the wrong way", Lopatka added following a meeting with the Metropolitan of the Syrian-Orthodox church of Aleppo, Archbishop Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim.

He  warned  against the repetition of the  Iraqi scenario that led to the mass displacement of Iraqi Christians from their country, noting  that dialogue ensures  respect for the rights of all Syrians,  maintains ethnic and religious fabric of the country and protects the rights of all Syrian components.

He indicated the need to stop the violence in Syria and begin a political dialogue between the government and the opposition.


T. Fateh