During a briefing in Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie said that the operation, which launched more than 100 missiles on civilian and military facilities, accomplished all of its objections and "dealt a severe blow" to the Syrian authorities, who they blame for an alleged attack in Douma.
Reporters addressed the US' reluctance to share their proof of chemical weapons use by the Syrian authorities, which the US said justified the missile strikes.
"Adlai Stephenson famously went to the UN [in 1962] with the evidence of the Russian buildup in Cuba. Why won't you do something similar? Especially, if there are doubts," one reporter asked.
"But there's no doubt for us," White said, adding that the evidence remains concealed because "a lot of this has to do with intelligence. And I'm very happy to show evidence if I can. But we were very confident about the decision we've made."
Another journalist wondered why the strikes on Syria took place before the OPCW experts were able to finish their investigation into the claimed gas attack.
"Let's remember that OPCW and others have been blocked from entering Ghouta and Douma. That's because of the Assad regime," the Pentagon said, avoiding a direct answer to the question.
Meanwhile, the OPCW inspectors landed in Damascus on Saturday, and the Syrian authorities said they will be granted access to all the required areas and sites.
OPCW Continues Mission to Probe Alleged Douma Gas Attack
The End of International Law?
The Syrian research lab in Barzeh, according to Western powers, was part of the Syrian government’s “chemical weapons infrastructure”.
Thus we are left with two possible conclusions: either they are "gas-killing animals" happy to murder untold numbers of innocent people in a military action (the very crime of which they accuse Asad); or they are deeply cynical liars, using entirely bogus "humanitarian" concerns to advance a geopolitical agenda of domination in the Middle East that has already killed more than a million innocent human beings, displaced millions more, destroyed several countries and destabilized the entire world.
There really are no other options.
Again: either they genuinely believed it was a chemical weapons factory and they blew it to smithereens without the slightest regard for what would happen to those in the area; or they knew it wasn't a WMD site at all. Either option makes an utter mockery of their sickening false piety about their concern for "innocent Syrian victims."
And by the way, what DID happen after the strike? Nothing. There was no dispersal of deadly chemicals, not even in the ruins of the building itself, as AFP and the Times of India report. Foreign reporters toured the site, without protective gear, in perfect safety. Obviously, there had been no chemical weapons there....
An engineer at the now-bombed-out research facility north of Damascus, which the US claims was the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program, says the labs were making medicine and testing toys for safety.
RT Arabic correspondents have visited one of the main targets of the US-led missile attack on Syria, the Scientific Studies and Research Center in the Barzeh district in northern Damascus.
The three-story building was pelted with Tomahawk missiles launched from US warships and air-to-surface missiles, the Pentagon said. The massive bombardment left it lying in ruins, with its walls and roof almost completely collapsed and lab equipment scattered around.
Said Said, an engineer at the facility, told RT Arabic that the very fact that such a trip was possible should serve as an evidence that no chemical weapons program was run at the site.
"You can see for yourself that nothing has happened. I've been here since 5:00 a.m. No signs of weapons-grade chemicals," he said. The researcher said he had worked at the facility for decades, and it used to develop medicine and household chemicals.
Speaking with AFP, Said said that the center's work mainly revolved around devising antidotes to scorpion and snake venoms, as well as testing food, medicine and children's toys for safety.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had visited the site several times and never found any traces of banned chemicals.
Since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention under a deal brokered by Russia and the US in 2013, the UN chemical watchdog repeatedly confirmed its full compliance with its obligations to dismantle and remove its chemical stockpiles.
The Pentagon said that it hit three targets in Syria, two military bases and the Barzeh facility, alleging that all three were pillars of the Syrian chemical weapons.
Announcing the strikes, US General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US military "believe that by hitting Barzeh, in particular, we've attacked the heart of the Syrian weapons program."
However, reports by the UN's chemical watchdog, the latest of which was filed just a month ago, suggest otherwise.
The report on the first inspection that was conducted between 26 February and 5 March 2017 says that "the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention," noting that Damascus had provided unimpeded access to the inspectors "to all selected areas."
The follow-up inspection, carried out in November, did not find any incriminating evidence either.
The March 2018 report reiterates: "As stated in previous reports, all of the chemicals declared by the Syrian Arab Republic that were removed from its territory in 2014 have now been destroyed.
Priority must be given to boosting the work of the world's chemical arms watchdog so it can dismantle Syria's "secret" toxic weapons program, the French ambassador said Monday.
"The priority today is to give the technical secretariat the means to complete the dismantling of the Syrian program," Phillipe Lalliot told emergency talks of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Following the recent attacks "we all know, Syria has maintained a secret chemical program since 2013," the ambassador added, referring to the year when Syria finally joined the OPCW and admitted to stockpiling toxic arms.
Syrian Eyewitnesses Reveal How
Douma Provocation Was Made
The Russian ambassador told the OPCW Executive Council that Russian specialists who probed into the reports about the use of chemical weapons in Douma had found those who took part in filming the rent-a-mob chemical attack in Syria’s Douma and these people told how the video had been shot.
"They demonstrated videos with their participation. Both men have medical diplomas and work with the emergency department of Douma’s hospital," Shulgin said, adding this video was a provocation staged by pseudo-humanitarian non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.
Some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.
The Russian foreign ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons.
This is the story of a town called Douma [..] and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week.
There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.
War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.
It was a short walk to Dr Assim Rahaibani. From the door of his subterranean clinic – “Point 200”, it is called, in the weird geology of this partly-underground city – is a corridor leading downhill where he showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye.
“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss.
Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other.
Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”
The White Helmets – the medical first responders already legendary in the West but with some interesting corners to their own story – played a familiar role during the battles. They are partly funded by the Foreign Office and most of the local offices were staffed by Douma men.
Of course we must hear their side of the story, but it will not happen here: a woman told us that every member of the White Helmets in Douma abandoned their main headquarters and chose to take the government-organised and Russian-protected buses to the rebel province of Idlib with the armed groups when the final truce was agreed.
Internal Security Forces enter Douma city to enhance security and stability
in preparation for the return of all state institutions to the city. SANA, 15-4-2018
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a delegation from the United Russia ruling political party of the Russian Federation.
Talks during the meeting dealt with developments in Syria and the tripartite Western aggression against it, in addition to discussing the historical relations between Syria and Russia and means to boost them in all fields.
President al-Assad said the tripartite missile aggression on Syria was accompanied by a campaign of misdirection and lies at the Security Council against Syria and Russia by the countries that carried out the aggression, which proves once again that the two countries are fighting the same battle not only against terrorism, but also to protect international law which is based on respecting the sovereignty of states and the will of their peoples.
President al-Assad stressed the need to implement executive mechanisms to improve economic cooperation, particularly in the field of reconstruction in Syria, and at the same time pointed out to the importance of the existing parliamentary cooperation between the two countries in international circles, particularly since the world political map is being redefined.
Make Russia Great Again'United Russia' is the ruling political party of the Russian Federation. United Russia is the largest party in Russia and as of 2017 it holds 340 (or 75.56%) of the 450 seats in the State Duma. In the 2016 elections, it received 54.2% while the second-place Communist Party received 13.3%.
In 2009, it proclaimed Russian conservatism as its official ideology. As of 2017, the United Russia party supports the policies of the presidential administration.
Under Vladimir Putin, the dominant leader since 1999, Russia has promoted explicitly conservative policies in social, cultural and political matters, both at home and abroad.
RAMALLAH, April 16 -- Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Monday welcomed the decisions made on the Arab League (AL) Summit held in Saudi Arabia.
The Arab summit stressed in its final statement the importance of ongoing efforts to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of 1967.
The statement described the Palestinian cause as a central issue of the Arab world.
It also voiced rejection of the Arab countries to the Israel's Judaization of Jerusalem and U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the holy city as Israel's capital last December.
In a statement to official radio Voice of Palestine, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki underlined the importance of the decisions made by the Arab nations in support of the Palestinian people and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), UN's refugee relief body.
He also revealed that official letters would be sent to Saudi Arabia, chair of the summit, and the AL General Secretariat to call for synchronized measures to implement the Palestinian-related decisions.
“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’
We convinced him it was necessary to stay.” Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”
Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”? If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.
"We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality." Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923
Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.
The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.
But where is the evidence for this? What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?
As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”
We have a vital interest, says the Washington Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.
Those in Israel and the United States who had hoped that the Arab League summit in Dhahran would expose fractures in Arab leaders’ stance on the Palestinian cause were left sorely disappointed.
In their opening speeches, King Abdullah of Jordan and host King Salman both underlined the centrality of the Palestinian issue for all Arabs and Muslims, while denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Coming from two close US allies, this commitment to the fundamental principles governing a just resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict was reflected in the summit’s final communique.
This was perhaps the most important message that Arab leaders wanted to send to the rest of the world: That unilateral actions — even if they were adopted by a superpower such as the US — aimed at changing the legal status of the Occupied Territories would not stand.
The parameters for a just and lasting solution remain the same: UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, whose implementation embraces the two-state solution, allowing for the creation of the Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Symbolically and equally significantly, the Dhahran summit was appropriately named the “Jerusalem Summit.”
This unanimous Arab position debunked allegations that some Arab states were open to other proposals that would derail the two-state solution and cede Arab sovereignty on East Jerusalem. This is a strong message to the Trump administration...
Aside from the unified position on Palestine, Arab leaders were in agreement on rejecting foreign intervention in their affairs.
Syria, which was targeted by US, British and French missiles the day before the summit revealed fault lines in Arab positions. Arab states differed in their reaction to the coalition attack on Syria, with some supporting it and others warning of its repercussions.
Other files where Arab leaders were in agreement included the need to find a peaceful solution in Libya, fighting terrorism, supporting UNRWA, the Palestinian Authority and Arab residents of Jerusalem, reforming the Arab League, and implementing the recommendations of the Arab Economic and Social Council....
Life of Great Persian Emperor on Theater in Tehran
The rise and fall of Cyrus the Great the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Emperor, is on the show on the theater scene in Vahdat Hall of Tehran . (FARS News Agency, 17-4-2018)
Friya Randelia: Cyrus the Great and His Cylinder
Under the patronage of President Bashar al-Assad, the cultural and national event “Aleppo, the Beating of the Heart” kicked off on Tuesday evening at Aleppo Citadel on occasion of the 72nd anniversary of Evacuation Day, Syria’s Independence Day.
Aleppo Citadel’s amphitheater thronged with crowds as the event was opened by the Syrian Arab Army and the Internal Security Forces music band...
The event also included folk dance performances by the Circassian Ensemble, Carni Aleppo Folk Dance Ensemble, and Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble, in addition to musical performances feayring traditional songs from Aleppo’s heritage, and an operatic performance by soprano Sumaya Hallaq and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Missak Baghboudarian.
The event was concluded with national songs performed by Narekatsi Choir, Zvartnots Choir, the National Symphony Orchestra, Siba Band, and Gomidas Band.
Islamic State militants have been given 48 hours to agree to withdraw from an enclave they control south of Damascus, the pro-Syrian government newspaper al-Watan reported.
"If they refuse, the army and supporting forces are ready to launch a military operation to end the presence of the organisation in the area," it said.
The militant-controlled enclave is centred around the Palestinian Yarmouk camp and the al-Hajar al-Aswad area south of Damascus. The area is much smaller than the eastern Ghouta region where the Syrian government recently defeated insurgents.
A commander in the regional military alliance that backs the Syrian government said the Syrian army had begun shelling the militant enclave on Tuesday in preparation for an assault.
Yarmouk, some 8km from the centre of Damascus, was home to Syria's largest Palestinian refugee community before the Syrian war erupted in 2011. Although most residents have fled, the United Nations has said several thousand remain.
The Syrian government has recovered swathes of territory from rebels by letting them leave to other rebel-held parts of the country after years of siege and ferocious military assaults backed by Russia and Iran.
Ghouta had been the opposition's main bastion outside Damascus, but government forces fully secured it after a blistering two-month assault that ended in negotiated rebel withdrawals.
The state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday that a deal had also been reached for rebels to quit Dumayr, a town further to the east, where a reconciliation agreement had kept a security status quo since 2016.
It said on Wednesday fighters from the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction were continuing to hand over their heavy and intermediate weapons in Dumayr ahead of their departure to the northern town of Jarabulus...
Talks were ongoing for the nearby towns of Nasiriya and Jayrud to reach a similar agreement, according to the Observatory.
Egypt will not join a proposed multi-national Arab force meant to replace US military presence in Syria, a former Egyptian intelligence official has said.
Mohamed Rashad, the former undersecretary of general intelligence, told news website Egypt Independent on Tuesday that Cairo's forces were not "mercenaries".
The top intelligence official was responding to a report that US President Donald Trump has reached out to Arab states to deploy troops to Syria to minimise Washington's role in the Syrian conflict.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries [that can be] leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy forces in a certain area," Rashad said. "This is not acceptable and no one should dare to direct or give instructions to Egypt's army,"
"Egypt is refusing any interference from foreign countries in Syria as the matter is related to the Syrian people and only they have the authority to decide their fate," he added.
US officials have reportedly reached out to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Egypt about providing funds and military resources to create the force.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said the kingdom was willing to send troops to Syria as part of a wider coalition - should the idea be proposed.
Saudi Arabia has been entangled in a three-year war against Houthi rebels in Yemen that has yet to bear fruit.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a coalition of Arab states fighting to roll back the rebels in Yemen - creating what the UN has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
Cairo has refused to deploy troops to Yemen to counter the Houthi rebellion and is currently fighting an extremist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that killed hundreds of security forces.
A TV story about a young boy from Syria’s Douma who was lured into taking part in the White Helmets’ faked chemical attack video will be shown to the representatives of the UN Security Council member-states, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, told the Rossiya-1 television channel in an interview on Thursday.
Earlier, the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock channel aired an interview with the boy who was lured into participating in a faked video of an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma.
In the TV story the 11-year-old explains how he appeared in a faked chemical attack video spread by the NGO calling itself The White Helmets. In the same TV story the boy’s father says that "the militants gave the boy some date fruit and biscuits to eat" and then let everybody go home. The man says his son has been well all the time and there were "no chemical weapons at all." "We already have a subtitled copy of the video at our disposal. We will distribute it among the member-countries (of the UN Security Council - TASS) and journalists. At the forthcoming meeting of the UN Security Council we will let everybody see it on the big screen," Nebenzya said.
According to the White Helmets’ allegations Syria’s Douma on April 7 saw the use of chemical weapons. The Russian Defense Ministry described that organization as an unreliable source.
Al-Masdar, Beirut (19-4-2018, 9:50 A.M.): The young boy in the Douma chemical weapons video, Hassan Diab, was interviewed this week by Russia 24 TV in regards to this alleged incident.
Diab told Russia 24 TV he and his mother had heard loud voices in the street during the alleged chemical weapons attack and that they were urged to rush to a local hospital.
“We were in the basement. Mom told me that today we don’t have anything to eat and that we will eat tomorrow. We heard a cry outside, calling “go to the hospital.” We ran to the hospital and as soon as I entered, they grabbed me and started pouring water on me,” Hassan Diab said.
His father continued the story. He was at his work when he heard that his son was in hospital. He rushed to the hospital and found his family there in good health. According to him, it turned out militants gave all the participants food and then released them.
A Brilliant Early Defender of Palestine
General Edmund Allenby brought an end to the Ottoman rule of Jerusalem, when he helped capture Palestine (and Syria) for the British Mandate during the First World War.
Colin Andersen, blending original material from Palestine: The Reality and Jeffries’ other writings with his own analysis and interpretation, has produced a book that no student of Britain’s deceits from Husain-McMahon to the Balfour Declaration should leave unread.
Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East.
Syria returns Légion d'honneur award to France
The US, British and French strikes against Syria did not contribute to the settlement process, UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "What happened last week did not help Astana, Sochi, or Geneva," he stressed.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Friday that he was pleased to see Moscow strongly committed to the political process in Syria despite the US, UK and French missile strikes on the Arab republic carried out last week.
De Mistura noted that the deconfliction mechanism introduced by the Russian and US forces operating in Syria has worked effectively, allowing to avoid the worsening of the situation in the Middle Eastern country, and should continue. "I think this dialogue needs to continue and has been able to avoid the much worse consequences. I understand there has been a useful meeting between the senior Russian and American military, and even between your ambassador in Washington [Anatoly Antonov] and new [US] National Security Adviser [John] Bolton. All this shows that there is an important attention to de-escalation," the envoy said.
The envoy expressed hope that experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will soon visit Syria's Douma to investigate into an alleged chemical attack in the area.
"The alleged chemical attack is a very serious issue, and therefore the UN has been on our side strongly wanting to help accelerate the OPCW visit to Douma… The sooner the better. I am sure you want the same," de Mistura told reporters after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
RT Arabic has traveled to the Douma hospital shown in footage of the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The crew talked to a boy featured in the video, who recounted the events. Hassan Diab, 11, appears to be the trembling boy seen in the video of the aftermath of the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. (RT Russia, 20-4-2018)
Dennis Bernstein spoke to Haneen Zoabi on April 17th in Berkeley California. Haneen Zoabi is a member of the Israeli Knesset and the first woman elected to the Israeli Knesset on an Arab party list. She’s an unrelenting advocate for equal citizenship rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel... Zoabi considers herself a straight up feminist.
DB: You are calling for a one-state solution? For one person one vote....
HZ: I am calling for a state which represents all of its citizens. For Israel, this struggle for democracy is a strategic threat. Equality and justice are strategic threats.
As a member of the Knesset, I am asked to be loyal to racism, loyal to apartheid laws, loyal to my oppressor. In Arab schools, we cannot study our own history, our own literature.. We learn that we don’t have any special relation to our homeland.. We must thank Israel every day for not expelling us in 1948.
Citizenship in Israel is not something that is meant to empower us. In a poll conducted three or four years ago, 65% of Israelis said they would like to be perceived as part of the West and not as part of the Middle East.
If you don’t want to be seen as part of the Middle East, if you don’t want to respect the history and the culture, why did you come here?
You came here without any respect for my identity or my history. You came not to live beside me but to replace me.
DB: Could you describe the relationship between Palestinians inside the state of Israel and those in the occupied West Bank and Gaza?
HZ: I am forbidden to travel to Gaza. Gaza is now the biggest ghetto in the world. They restrict the movement even of patients, even of students.. As a politician, I don’t see myself as just struggling for the rights of Palestinians within the borders of 1948. I am struggling for the rights of the Palestinian people.
DB: So your constituency includes all Palestinians.
HZ: One strategy of control at play here, apart from occupation and the siege, is citizenship as a way to tame and control Palestinians within Israel. I don’t have the right to even identify myself as Palestinian in Israel. I must identify myself as Arab-Israeli.
I must accept my dual marginalization: I am not 100% Palestinian and I am not 100% Israeli because I am not Jewish.
DB: What is your primary purpose in coming to the US at this time?
HZ: We do not ask the Americans to like the Palestinians, nor do we ask them to love the Palestinians. We ask them to examine their sense of justice, equality and freedom. The Palestinian struggle is a struggle for justice.
American citizens cannot see themselves as being neutral in this struggle, because of the total blind support of Israel by the United States.
Israel is not held accountable for its crimes and this is why it is able to continue with this murderous oppression. It is time to send a clear message to Israel that it is not above international law.
Building up UN presence in Syria is crucial from the standpoint of gathering authentic information, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Friday.
We cannot tolerate a situation where UN agencies in their reports and public statements rely on information borrowed from other sources in Syria, not the UN’s own ones," Lavrov said.
The prospects of starting an inter-Syrian dialogue under the UN aegis are not as optimistic as they were a month ago, Sergey Lavrov has warned.
"Less than a month has passed since we met here at this table on March 29," Russia’s top diplomat noted.
"Today we are meeting in the conditions when the prospects of the quickest start of the dialogue under your aegis in compliance with Resolution 2254 are not as optimistic as they were a month ago. Nevertheless, we should not give up and we will do everything to avoid departure from the key accords," Lavrov said.
"The main thing is to stay within the framework of international law and we will be seeking that all our partners should follow precisely this course rather than try to play their geopolitical schemes to the detriment of the interests of the Syrian people," the Russian foreign minister said.
On April 14, the US, Great Britain and France delivered a massive missile strike against Syria without the UN Security Council’s authorization.
In another blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, MPs this week approved a law authorising the relevant judicial committee to sequestrate the assets of the banned organisation and all affiliated movements.
The original title of the 18-article law — Regulating the Procedures of Sequestrating, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Affiliated Organisations — was amended during Monday’s parliamentary debate to “Regulating the Sequestration, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists”.
“The change was necessary because the constitution stipulates laws must be issued to address general conditions rather than a particular case,” said Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan.
MPs praised the law, with several insisting the Brotherhood remains flush with money from Qatar and Turkey.
Free Egyptians Party MP Sami Ramadan said Qatar spent $8 billion on the Muslim Brotherhood while it was in power in Egypt between 2012 and 2013 and “is still spending generously on the group, helping it spread chaos in Egypt”.
“The Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organisations still receive cash from Qatar, Turkey and from giant companies operating in Egypt, the Arab world, Europe and America,” claimed MP Ahmed Hamam. “We hope this law will be a step in halting the flow of funds to terrorists and their mother organisations.”
MP Mustafa Bakri, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Osbou, says the new law was necessary to end the constitutional and legal problems which had dogged the sequestration of the assets of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation following terrorist attacks targeting buildings belonging to security forces in Cairo and Nile Delta cities in December 2013,” said a report prepared by the committee. “Many of the group’s leaders and activists have been convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks.
The junta's extending the state of emergency for an additional three months, starting April 14, 2018, is a typical attempt to make the Egyptian people believe they’re in alleged a state of war, which they’re expected to live in permanently.
Despotic regimes always invoke a hidden enemy to bear all their failures, as well as their repressive and exceptional measures that are intended only to tighten the grip on power, while accomplishing nothing on the economic and social levels.
What is more dangerous is to continue perversion and corruption without accountability or scrutiny....
The coup has continued all the abuses of the previous regime, which Egyptians had revolted against, and surpassed the previous regime in repression, torture, and the use of the murder machine.
Hence, Egyptians have no choice but to continue their revolution to overthrow all those who wish to usurp their future and freedom in their homeland. The revolution that has previously achieved what no one expected is capable, by Allah's permission, will re-establish what the people aspire to and hope for.
Flashback - Muslim Brotherhood 2012
Syria’s southern province of Daraa, which could be the regime’s next target after its bloody reprisal of Eastern Ghouta, is the birthplace of the uprising which erupted in 2011.
In the province’s main town, which has the same name, demonstrators attacked symbols of the regime, before the protest movement spilled over into neighboring towns. Assad fired the unpopular town governor and local intelligence chief, but did not manage to calm the situation.
On April 26 the regime sent in the army as it sought to stamp out pockets of resistance.
The Daraa protest movement was crushed at the end of a 10-day military operation in which hundreds were arrested.
Daraa province is one of the last centers of rebel forces in Syria, after they lost vast swathes of territory to the regime.
It is divided up between different opposition groups that control nearly 70 percent of it. The Daesh group and the regime retain a lesser presence.
Daraa town, the regional capital, is mainly in the hands of pro-government forces.
Flashback 2011 - There are three groups of protesters in Syria
Nikki Haley is America’s face to the international community. She is the Ugly American personified, thinking that American Exceptionalism gives her license to say and do whatever she wants at the United Nations, argues Phil Giraldi in this commentary.
In the Trumpean world of all-the-time-stupid, there is one individual who stands out for her complete inability to perceive anything beyond threats of unrelenting violence combined with adherence to policies that have already proven to be catastrophic.
That person is our own Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who surfaced in the news lately after she unilaterally and evidently prematurely announced sanctions on Russia. When the White House suggested that she might have been “confused” she responded that “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
The problem right now is that Nikki Haley is America’s face to the international community, even more than the Secretary of State.
She has used her bully pulpit to do just that, i.e. bully, and she is ugly America personified, having apparently decided that something called American Exceptionalism gives her license to say and do whatever she wants at the United Nations.
In her mind, the United States can do what it wants globally because it has a God-given right to do so, a viewpoint that doesn’t go down well with many countries that believe that they have a legal and moral right to be left alone and remain exempt from America’s all too frequent military interventions....
Jessica Lynn Gavora (born 1963) is an American conservative writer on politics and culture. She was the chief speechwriter and a senior policy adviser to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
John Ashcroft 2004: "Even if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq, the U.S.-led war was justified because it eliminated the threat that Saddam Hussein might again resort to evil chemistry and evil biology."
As governor of South Carolina, Haley first became identified as an unquestioning supporter of Israel through her signing of a bill punishing supporters of the nonviolent pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the first legislation of its kind on a state level.
Immediately upon taking office at the United Nations she complained that “nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel” and vowed that the “days of Israel bashing are over.” ..
Nikki Haley’s embrace of Israeli points of view is unrelenting and serves no American interest. If she were a recruited agent of influence for the Israeli Mossad she could not be more cooperative than she apparently is voluntarily.
Haley is particularly highly critical of both Syria and Iran, reflecting the Israeli bias.
She has repeatedly said that regime change in Damascus is a Trump administration priority, even when the White House was saying something different. She has elaborated on an Administration warning that it had “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime” by tweeting “…further attacks will be blamed on Assad but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.” Haley is particularly critical of Iran, which she sees as the instigator of much of the unrest in the Middle East, again reflecting the Israeli and neocon viewpoints...
So, Nikki Haley very much comes across as the neoconservatives’ dream ambassador to the United Nations–full of aggression, a staunch supporter of Israel, and assertive of Washington’s preemptive right to set standards for the rest of the world.
Worse than John Bolton? Absolutely.
During a visit to New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley of displaying fabricated evidence that missiles lobbed by the Houthis at civilian areas in Saudi Arabia originated in Iran.
Though Tehran supports the Shiite rebel group, it firmly denies giving them missiles. But Haley has invited journalists and U.N. Security Council diplomats to inspect missile parts recovered after strikes on Saudi Arabia, bearing what U.S. military officials said were Iranian markings and characteristics.
Zarif, in an Associated Press interview, said that one such logo was from the Standard Institute of Iran, which he said regulates consumer goods — not weapons.
“It’s a sign of quality,” Zarif said. “When people want to buy it, they look at whether it’s been tested by the Standard Institute of Iran that your cheese puffs are good, your cheese puffs will not give you a stomach ache.”
He laughed and added, “I mean, nobody will put the logo of the Standard Institute of Iran on a piece of missile.”
Zarif also pointed to a truck-size section of a missile that the U.S. said was recovered in Saudi Arabia and was transferred to a military base near Washington, where it was on display behind Haley for a photo-op. Zarif noted that the missile had been supposedly shot down in mid-air.
“I’m not saying Ambassador Haley is fabricating, but somebody is fabricating the evidence she is showing,” Zarif said.
The fragments Haley presented were turned over to the U.S. by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of Iran’s fiercest critics — and U.S. military officials had trouble tracing the fragments’ chain of custody. Nor could they say when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis or in some cases precisely when they were launched.
President Michel Aoun: Don't Vote for Those who Sell Sovereignty
Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948.
That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled. The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its leader, Menachem Begin.
Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.
In the letter, Einstein, and others described Herut (Freedom) party as a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to Nazi and Fascist parties.”
Herut later merged with other groups to form the Likud Party. Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize and the Likud is now the leading party in Israel’s most right-wing government coalition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of Begin’s party, the Likud. His current coalition includes Russian-born Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, founder of the ultra-nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
In response to ongoing popular protests by besieged Palestinians in Gaza, and in justification of the high number of deaths and injuries inflicted on the unarmed protesters by the Israeli army, Lieberman argued that “there are no innocent people in Gaza.”
Netanyahu’s coalition is rife with such morally-objectional characters.
Palestinians “are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads,” Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked wrote in a Facebook post in 2015. “Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs … They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Certainly, the Palestinian people are still fighting for their land, identity, dignity and freedom. But the truth is that Israel’s biggest enemy is Israel itself.
The country has failed to part ways with its violent politics and ideology of yesteryears. On the contrary, Israel’s ideological debate has been settled in favor of perpetual violence, racism and apartheid.
It is the likes of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennett and Shaked who now represent modern Israel and, behind them, a massive constituency of right-wing religious and ultra-nationalists, who have little regard for Palestinians, for human rights, international law and such seemingly frivolous values as peace and justice.
70 years after Israel’s independence and Einstein’s letter, the country’s legacy is still marred with blood and violence. Despite the ongoing party in Tel Aviv, there is no reason to celebrate and every reason to mourn...
Albert Einstein, Manhattan Opera House 22-4-1935:
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took aim at Iran, saying Israel would respond to any Iranian threat. ahead of a meeting with senior American officials in Washington,
"If Iran strikes Tel Aviv, Israel will hit Tehran and destroy any Iranian military site in Syria that threatens Israel," he told London-based Saudi newspaper Elaph on Thursday.
Liberman said Israel will pay any price to prevent an Iranian presence in Syria.
The defense minister also said that Israel is engaged in dialogue with unnamed Arab countries, but did not specify which countries. "Things are moving in the right direction," he said. "There is an understanding on 75 percent of things." Liberman called for a constructive dialogue and full understanding with the Arab states on the regional issues.
He also said he believes that the current Iranian regime is in its final days, and that the presumed United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal on May 12th will lead to the economic collapse of Iran.
This is where the Iranian regime has been weakened, Liberman suggested, as it has so far spent more than $13 billion in Syria and spends $2 billion a year on Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other "terrorist" militias
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Muslim nations to unite against the US, saying Tehran would never yield to "bullying," state television reported on Thursday. "The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist... All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies," he said.
"Unfortunately there is war in our region between Muslim countries. The backward governments of some Muslim countries are fighting with other countries," Khamenei said.
Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague that the White Helmets video used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged. Hassan Diab was among the “victims” seen being washed by water hoses in a video released by the controversial White Helmets group on April 7.
“Six of the Douma witnesses brought to The Hague have already been interviewed by the OPCW technical experts, Russia’s permanent representative to the OPCW, Aleksandr Shulgin, said.
“The others were ready too, but the experts are sticking to their own guidelines. They’ve picked six people, talked to them, and said they were 'completely satisfied' with their account and did not have any further questions,” Shulgin revealed. He added that the allegations by “certain Western countries” ahead of the briefing that Moscow and Damascus were seeking to “hide” the witnesses from the OPCW experts did not hold water.
The alleged chemical incident was only supported by the White Helmets’ video and social media reports from militant-linked groups, but the US, the UK and France judged they had enough evidence that it actually took place and launched a series of punitive strikes against Syria on April 14.
The strike came hours before the OPCW fact-finding team was set to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there.
Official Washington and those associated with it have misrepresented the facts numerous times in the service of military actions that might not otherwise have taken place.
In the Middle East, Western interventions have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab civilians, brought chaos to Iraq and Libya, and led to the expulsion of a million Christians from communities where they have lived since biblical times.
The most famous of these episodes, of course, was the U.S. government’s assurance to the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which formed the basis for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The government also insisted Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda, bolstering the call to war. Of course neither was true.
But even before that there was the first Iraq war in 1991, justified in part by the story of Iraqi soldiers reportedly dumping babies out of incubators to die in a Kuwaiti hospital. The 15-year-old daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador cleverly lied to a set-up congressional committee.
There were also the lies about the Iraqi army being poised to invade Saudi Arabia. That was the ostensible reason for the U.S. sending troops to Kuwait—to defend Saudi Arabia.
America attacked Iraq in 1991, bombing and destroying that nation’s irrigation, sanitation, and electricity plants. Then we blockaded reconstruction supplies for nine years while some half-million children died of disease and starvation.
We blamed it all on Saddam, although we controlled Iraq’s money flows through the UN food-for-oil program.
Before that, there was the Kosovo war when America attacked Serbia on the basis of lies that 100,000 Kosovans had been massacred by Serbs in suppressing their civil war. This led to massive American bombing, brutally destroying much of that nation’s civilian infrastructure and factories, including most of the bridges in the country...
libya's [right-wing] islamic revolution, supported by france, uk and usa [plus b-h levy, zionist]
More recently there was the British, French, and American attack on Libya in response to lies that Moammar Gaddafi was planning to massacre civilians in Benghazi. The U.S. destroyed his armed forces and helped to overthrow him...
Most recently we had cable news inundating us with stories of a new poison gas attack in Syria. The “news” came from rebel sources. The American Conservative has published a detailed analysis by former arms inspector Scott Ritter questioning the evidence...
This happened before in the summer of 2014 when President Obama nearly went to war over similar accusations.. Investigative journalists Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry expertly poked holes in the veracity of that 2013 attack...
Scott Ritter was asked in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, to join the United Nations Special Commission, which was tasked by the Security Council to oversee the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. From 1991 to 1998, Ritter served as a chief weapons inspector and led a number of teams into Iraq. According to Ritter, in the following Flashpoints Radio interview with Dennis Bernstein conducted on April 23rd, US, British and French claims that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians last month appear to be totally bogus.
- Dennis Bernstein: You have been speaking out recently about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Could you outline your case?
- Scott Ritter: Many, including the Russian government, believe that this was a staged event. There has been no hard evidence put forward by anyone that an attack took place. Shortly after allegations of the attack came out, the entire town of Douma was taken over by the Syrian Army while the rebels were evacuated.
The places that were alleged to have been attacked were inspected by Russian chemical weapons specialists, who found zero trace of any chemicals weapons activity.
The United States, France and Great Britain have all admitted that the only evidence they have used to justify this attack were the photographs and videotapes sent to them by the rebel forces.
I have great concern about the United States carrying out an attack on a sovereign nation based on no hard evidence...
One of the tragedies is that we can no longer trust our military, our intelligence services, our politicians. They will manufacture whatever narrative they need to justify an action that they deem to be politically expedient.
As an American citizen who happens to be empowered with knowledge about how weapons inspections work, how decisions are made regarding war, I am disillusioned beyond belief.
This isn’t the first time we have been lied to by the president. But we have been lied to by military officers who are supposed to be above that.
Three top Marine Corps officers stood before the American people and told bald-faced lies about what was going on.
We have been lied to by Congress, who are supposed to be the people’s representatives who provide a check against executive overreach.
And we have been lied to by the corporate media, a bunch of paid mouthpieces who repeat what the government tells them without question.
- DB: Isn’t it also the case that there were problems with the allegations concerning Syria using chemical weapons in 2013 and then again in 2015? I believe The New York Times had to retract their 2013 story.
- SR: They put out a story about thousands of people dying, claiming that it was definitely done by the Syrian government. It turned out later that the number of deaths was far lower and that the weapons systems used were probably in the possession of the rebels. It was a case of the rebels staging a chemical attack in order to get the world to intervene on their behalf.
A similar scenario unfolded last year when the Syrian government dropped two or three bombs on a village and suddenly there were reports that there was sarin nerve agent and chlorine gas wafting through the village, killing scores of people. Videotapes were taken of dead and dying and suffering people which prompted Trump to intervene. Inspectors never went to the site. Instead they relied upon evidence collected by the rebels....
So we have evidence collected by the rebels. They videotaped themselves carrying out the inspection, wearing training suits that would not have protected them at all from chemical weapons! Like almost everything having to do with these rebels, this was a staged event, an act of theater.
- DB: Who has been supporting this particular group of rebels?
- SR: On the one hand, we have the actual fighters, the Army of Islam, a Saudi-backed fundamentalist group who are extraordinarily brutal. Embedded within the fighters are a variety of Western-trained and Western-funded NGOs such as the White Helmets and the Syrian-American Medical Society.
Their primary focus isn’t rescue, in the case of the White Helmets, or medical care in the case of the Syrian-American Medical Society, but rather anti-regime propaganda...
Scott Ritter 2002: "I believe in truth"
They have read the evidence of Scott Ritter, who as senior United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years, is uniquely placed to assess how much of a danger the Iraqi regime represents.
RITTER, an American and international authority on weapons disarmament, personally led the inspections, investigations and destruction of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programmes.
On July 23, he said: "There is no case for war. I say that, not as a pacifist, or someone who is afraid of war. I've been to war with the US Marine Corps. Moreover, I'm a card-carrying Republican, who voted for George W. Bush for president. More important, I believe in truth.
"The UN weapons inspectors enjoyed tremendous success in Iraq. By the end of our job, we ascertained a 90-95 per cent level of disarmament. Not because we took at face value what the Iraqis said. We went to Europe and scoured the countries that sold technology to Iraq until we found the company that had an invoice signed by an Iraqi official. We cross-checked every piece of equipment with serial numbers. That's why I can say that Iraq was 90-95 per cent disarmed. We confirmed that 96 per cent of Iraq's 98 missiles were destroyed.
"It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it." John Pilger
Iran foreign ministry spokesman has welcomed the normalization of ties between the Koreas in a statement on Friday, saying that Iran has always called for a détente on the Korean Peninsula.
“Iran considers the recent meeting between the leaders of the two countries of North Korea and South Korea, as a decisive step in the right direction, which can contribute to regional and global peace and security,” according to Bahram Ghasemi on Friday evening.
“Iran’s policy has always been to oppose the manufacture, possession, maintenance and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and to support any attempt to free the world from such weapons,” Ghasemi added.
The Friday statement went on to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the resent and historic detente in the Korean Peninsula should vigorously, mutually, and without foreign interference continue.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman warned the two Koreans no to trust the United States president as Iran’s 4—year long experience shows that the United States is not trustworthy.
“The United States does not live up to its international obligations as it has shown with regard to the JCPOA,” Ghasemi underlined.
Wikipedia info: Iran–North Korea relations are described as being positive by official news agencies of the two countries.
Diplomatic relations picked up following the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the establishment of an Islamic Republic.
Iran and North Korea pledge cooperation in educational, scientific, and cultural spheres. Some media reports claim this cooperation extends to nuclear cooperation, though official U.S. government publications and academic studies have disputed this.
North Korea and Iran are the remaining two members of George W. Bush's "Axis of evil", which has led to many of the concerns regarding Iran–North Korea relations.
Hosted by the Center for Strategic Studies at the Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, Florida, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and Director General of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency Prince Turki al Faisal debated Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators and chairman of the foreign policy committee of Iran’s National Security Council.
- Moderator: What specific steps do you think would ease the tensions between the two countries.
- Turki al Faisal: I’m not speaking for the government, but I think if we were to stop the propaganda, whether it is in the newspaper, or television and so on.
Iran has over a 100 radio and television stations, broadcasting vicious and very inflammatory language, not just at Saudi Arabia, but at other Arab countries in the Gulf, Bahrain included, Kuwait, you name it. That’s something that should be stopped on both sides.
That would give everybody a rest as to the inflammatory remarks that come out from any source whatsoever.
That would be a step in the right direction.
I think equally in the international arena for example, we’ve seen op-eds written by Mr. Zarif accusing Saudi Arabia not only of promoting al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, but saying that they all originated in Saudi Arabia. And responses from our foreign minister of course, accusing Iran of similar issues. That should stop.
That would be helpful in overcoming the public rhetoric that inflames people and makes them stand in a pugilistic stance rather than an embracing stance. These are two steps I think that can be very helpful. And then you can work from there to other steps that can bring the two countries together.
- Hossein Mousavian: What Prince Turki said about stopping propaganda, this would be extremely important and helpful. The second step I would suggest is to revive the joint security committee between Iran and Saudi Arabia...
State cohesion is currently the challenge for Egyptians, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said during a speech Saturday.
Addressing an armed forces educational symposium held to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the liberation of Sinai, El-Sisi told Egyptians to "listen and take note."
"A message to Egyptians and not to the army; the current challenge facing Egypt is the cohesion of the state," El-Sisi said, describing the challenge as one within Egyptians domestically.
On 25 April, Egypt celebrates the completion of the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, following the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
El-Sisi also praised late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, who led the 1973 October War, for the liberation of Sinai from Israeli occupation, describing his decision as one that assembled "deep conscience and awareness and a new state of peace."
"I say this and remind people. Do not let anyone take the state from you. We are all aware and fear for our country so this day does not happen again. Sinai now has been liberated and there is a peace, which is a strategic choice that we believe in and work upon, but we have to learn our lessons," El-Sisi said.
Moscow, Tehran and Ankara believe attempts to split Syria on ethnic and religious grounds to be unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday following a meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts - Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu.
"We have stated that we will counter attempts to undermine our joint efforts and pointed out that the Astana process is stable," he said. "We will continue solving important tasks related to de-escalation, easing tensions and reducing the conflict potential.
Ceasefire violations continue to happen but we have a mechanism to monitor them and we will seek to overcome this situation, particularly by strengthening trust among the parties ‘on the ground’," Lavrov added.
He pointed out that Saturday’s meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey "comes when developments in Syria are not always positive." Attempts are being made to hinder the peace process in Syria, particularly to prevent the establishment of a constitutional committee, Lavrov said.
"The developments of the recent weeks show that not everyone wants peace to be restored in Syria. Every time hope arises, a strike is carried out on it," Lavrov said.
"We have to point to ongoing attempts to prevent dialogue among Syrians and the establishment of a constitutional committee in accordance with decisions made at the Sochi event...
"It turns out that we create and build, while our counterparts seek to destroy the results of our joint constructive efforts, even violating international law..."
The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are determined to urgently agree further steps within the framework of the Astana process towards a settlement in Syria.
"We share a common wish to facilitate this process and hope to discuss the situation that has emerged in Syria and new additional steps that would foster positive trends..." "The Astana process is an example of how seemingly insoluble problems can be resolved, provided there is the political will," he said.