British PM Hopes EU Will Respond 'Positively' to Brexit Offer

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is looking forward that the European Union would respond "positively" to her proposals for Brexit.

May made the remarks as she arrived for a summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday to launch reforms for the bloc's post-Brexit survival. She will hold talks with EU President Donald Tusk, and has already held meetings with her Irish, Swedish and Polish counterparts.

"I look forward to the European Union responding positively to that so we can move forward together and ensure that we can get the best possible arrangements for the future that will be good for people in the United Kingdom and across the remaining EU27," May said on the eve of the EU Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth.

Lavrov Says US Intervention in Syria Illegal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has slammed a US claim that Washington is conducting military operations in Syria under a UN mandate, saying the American intervention is illegal, according to Press T.V.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis was asked on Monday about the legal standing of his country’s presence in Syria compared to that of Russia and Iran, which are both fighting terrorists at the Damascus government's request.

“You know, the UN said that … -- basically we can go after ISIS (Daesh). And we're there to take them out,” Mattis said.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Warns ‘Lebanon No Toy in Others’ Hands’

Lebanon’s foreign minister warns that his country should not be treated as a plaything by any country, as he continues his foreign tour aimed at securing the return of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is said to be under house arrest in Saudi Arabia after he was forced to resign.

“Lebanon is not a toy in others’ hands,” Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, in Berlin on Thursday.

Bassil has been touring European capitals to lobby for Hariri’s return. The premier has been in Saudi Arabia since he shockingly announced his resignation in Riyadh on November 4.

US Military Superiority over Russia, China Markedly Decreasing, Says Dunford

The US has been losing its military supremacy over its peer countries like Russia and China over the last 10-15 years and should step up efforts to increase its deterrence potential, Joe Dunford, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cited as saying during a lecture at the Tufts University in Massachusetts earlier this week.

Russia and China have heavily invested in their capabilities to struggle against America’s traditional dominance in a range of spheres, General Dunford said, as cited in a news article published on the US Defense Department website.

UN Chief Says Saudi War on Yemen ‘Stupid,’ Calls for Lifting of Blockade

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described Saudi Arabia’s long-running war on Yemen as “stupid,” saying the blockade on the impoverished country must come to an end.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the UN chief’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Guterres had written a letter to Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy Abdallah al-Mouallimi, asking the Riyadh regime and its allies to reopen Yemen's sea and airports as well as borders.

Russia's Draft Resolution on Renewal of JIM Mandate in Syria Fails to Be Adopted

UNITED NATIONS- The Russian draft resolution to renew the mandate of UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) for Investigating use of chemical weapons in Syria, put to vote by Bolivia at the UN Security Council on Thursday evening, did not obtain the required number of votes, Italian Ambassador to the United Nations Sebastiano Cardi said, according to Sputnik.

Russia put its draft resolution on the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) back to vote upon Bolivia’s suggestion.

"The result of the voting is as follows: 4 votes in favor, 7 votes against, 4 abstentions, the draft resolution has not been adopted having failed to obtain the required number of votes," Sebastiano Cardi, who currently presides with the UN Security Council, said on Thursday.

US Draft Resolution on Syria's JIM Mandate Has No Chances of Being Adopted

MOSCOW- The US draft of the UN Security Council’s resolution on prolonging the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for investigating chemical attacks in Syria has no chances of being adopted, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday, Itar Tass reported.

"The US draft is aimed at making not a single change, not a single letter in the actions being taken by this mechanism in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Its sole purpose is to prolong the mechanism’s mandate and to welcome and approve the methods the mechanism has been using. Clearly, this is absolutely unacceptable," Lavrov said. "For this reason the US resolution has no chances at all for being adopted."

Zakharova: UN Gave No Mandate on Deploying US Troops to Syria

MOSCOW- The United States has not received the United Nations’ mandate on deploying its troops to Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We were surprised to hear a statement made by US Defense Secretary James Mattis when talking to the US media representatives on November 13 that the US Armed Forces are in Syria "with the permission of the UN," Zakharova said as quoted by Itar Tass.

"I want to remind you that the Security Council is the only body under the UN Charter that is entitled to take decisions on using military force in the international community," she said, adding that no such decision has been taken. "The US units are there in disregard of the country’s legitimate government in fact acting as occupants," the diplomat stressed.