#Geneva2 : ” Second Round of #Syria #Peace Talk’s may `Start’ February 10 2014″

#AceBeakingNews says `RIA Novosti‘ reports that `Second Round of Syria Talks’ may start Feb.10 – Official’

cropped-header-breaking-news.jpgThe second round of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition could start in Geneva on February 10, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said, RIA Novosti reported. Agreement on the date has been reached, he told reporters, adding that at least the government delegation had approved it. The next round of talks is likely to take a week, he added. Representatives of the delegation from the opposition have rejected three documents proposed by the government, including one on securing territorial integrity and condemning external interference in the country.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acebreakingnews, #bashar-al-assad, #bouthaina-shaaban, #council-of-ministers-syria, #foreign-minister, #geneva, #geneva2, #lakhdar-brahimi, #middle-east, #ria-novosti, #syria, #syrian-government

#Geneva2 : “Agree to Use `Geneva Communique’ as Basis for `Peace’ Talks”

#AceWorldNews says `Syria Delegations agree on basis for Peace Talks’ 

Ace News Desk  The two Syrian delegations at peace talks in Geneva have agreed to use the ‘Geneva communique’ as the basis for peace talks, an opposition spokesman Louay Safi said on Wednesday. The news is seen as an apparent step forward for the talks, Reuters reported. The communique was agreed by international powers in June 2012. “We have agreed that Geneva 1 is the basis of the talks,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “The regime has accepted but it wants the transitional governing body to be discussed at the end. We want it at the beginning.” Neither the government nor the UN have immediately confirmed the statement.

Enhanced by Zemanta

#aceworldnews, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #geneva-1, #june-2012, #lakhdar-brahimi, #louay-m-safi, #reuters, #syria, #united-nations, #wednesday

#Geneva2 : ” Syria & Peace are Misnomer’ s Provided to Make Us Believe in Miracle’s”

#AceGuestNews and `Views’ says `Syria and the Geneva 2 Charade’

Courtesy of: Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.In the summertime, people flock to Montreux, Switzerland, to follow the jazz festival. This week, though, the ‘performance’ is by a positively un-swinging lot, part of the (in theory) very serious Geneva 2 conference on Syria.

What is Geneva 2 for? It has nothing to do with ‘peace’. It won’t yield an international deal to end the Syrian tragedy. The horrible war facts on the ground will remain facts, and horrible; many perpetrators won’t be gathering in Montreux. Syrian civil society has not even been invited.

And then the whole charade degenerated into pitiful parody even before it started.

This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite ‘pressure’ by Washington – instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud – it was duly rescinded.

Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communiqué, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.

Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what’s going on in Syria.

But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who continue to weaponize every Syrian ‘rebel’ in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders – can. And will.

Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) shoot at advancing government troops in the al-Jadeida neighbourhood, in the Old City of Aleppo, on August 21, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Meet ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda

Time to break it down. Washington ruled that Iran cannot be in Montreux because it supports Assad. It’s as simple as that.

Washington dictating to the UN is the norm. Washington dictating to the Syrian exiled ‘opposition’ is also the norm. Everyone is a puppet in this lethal comedy.

As for Western spin doctors, they are dizzier than flies over corpses. As part of the new Western myth that the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Islamic Front – formed last September against the US-backed Supreme Military Council – are nothing but ‘good Al-Qaeda’, now we have top ‘rebels’ routinely acknowledging to Western corporate media they are, well, Al-Qaeda.

Tens of thousands of foreign jihadis using Al-Qaeda’s network of safe houses in Turkey – well, that’s not such a big deal. As the narrative goes, ‘our new friends’ in the Islamic Front are just ‘conservative Salafi Muslims’. What if they are fond of the odd torture binge and will think nothing of slaying the odd Shiite or Christian? Not such a big deal.

As for the ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda gang – from Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – they are on a roll. After all, they are the ones with fighting experience/leverage on the ground. And when push comes to shove, they just run yet another ring around clueless Western necks.

Take Ahrar al-Sham. They now lead the Islamic Front – and talk to the Americans. And guess what; they’re going to Montreux! The icing on this Takfiri cake is that, ultimately, their “interests” are being defended by no less than US Secretary of State John Kerry. Washington promoting al-Qaeda? Well, we’ve seen that movie before.

Should I stay or should I go?

Washington is selling the fiction it is ‘leading’ Geneva 2 to ‘reconstruct’ Syria. This is utter nonsense.

Theoretically – and even that is still extremely debatable – the Obama administration’s core interest in Southwest Asia is to negotiate a very complex deal with Iran, which will take most of 2014.

Ultimately, this whole charade is between Washington and Tehran. The US Navy won’t make Assad ‘go’anytime soon – or ever; so everything, in theory, remains on the table.

A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

A Syrian army tank is seen in the Christian town of Maalula on September 11, 2013. (AFP Photo)

And everyone else, the UN, the Holy See, the House of Saud, are just onlookers, even as several players, from the EU to India, China and Japan, can think of nothing but finally normalizing everything with Iran.

The Syrian government, for its part, will be in Montreux; it had agreed to the conference long ago. Yet President Assad laid down; he won’t ‘leave’, as US President Barack Obama demanded. He won’t let the foreign-sponsored ‘opposition’ take over. And he may even contest the next presidential elections.

Assad went for the jugular when he said Geneva 2 should be about his own ‘War on Terror’. Terror, incidentally, widely supported by the West.

So under this perspective, even Washington needs Assad not to go. The bottom line is that the only players who really want Assad to go are the House of Saud and the House of Thani in Qatar. Many in the West have now realized Assad must stay to fight ‘the terrorists’.

The notoriously shady US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford – who always pops up when the US is destabilizing something – this time called an urgent meeting in Istanbul, supported by Turkey and Qatar, and pulled a ‘go to Montreux because I said so’ shtick.

He just needed to follow the money. Those who won’t travel – a lot of Syrian National Coalition (SNC) hangers-on – will find themselves short of cash.

So listen to the sound of ‘patriotism’ talking. The SNC, which was always rabidly against any talks with Assad, suddenly said they’ll go, even though one-third of their shady members boycotted the Istanbul meeting.

What’s even more farcical is what Ford may have told the SNC stalwarts – still subject to much debate across the Middle East. If Ford really said that Bandar Bush’s strategy has been a total failure (in fact turning Syria into an Al-Qaeda hub) then this points to the Obama administration, for all practical purposes, sharing the same objective as Assad’s: fighting ‘terror’.

Still, Geneva 2 won’t ‘solve’ anything. Iran and Russia will keep supporting Damascus. The desert wasteland from Syria to Iraq will keep being occupied by Bandar Bush-supported and Gulf-supported hardcore sectarian jihadis.

The war will keep spreading deeper into Lebanon. The government in Damascus won’t collapse. The refugee crisis will soar. And the West will keep striking a pose of being concerned with ‘terror’.

All that non-jazz in Montreux will come to nothing. And then some bureaucrat will call for a Geneva 3.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of :

Ace News Group  

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#aceguestnews, #aceguestviews, #ahrar-al-sham, #ban-ki-moon, #bashar-al-assad, #iran, #john-kerry, #montreux, #saudi-arabia, #syria, #united-states

#AceNewsDesk : “World News – Latest Headlines – 14.56 GMT – 27 January 2014”

World News Banner

GENEVA – SYRIA – EGYPT – NIGERIA – RUSSIA – TUNISIA –  US – IRAN – AFGHANISTAN  

REUTERS – AFP – AP – RT – CHINA DAILY – ACTIVIST POST  

14:56

Syria sides to continue Geneva talks despite diplomatic deadlock

The sides in the Syrian conflict will continue their talks in Geneva despite different approaches to the discussion agenda, AFP said. The government delegation earlier proposed the basic principles of the negotiations. The opposition insisted they contradicted the main goals of Geneva 2, which they said included the creation of a transitional government. Despite the deadlock, both sides do not intend to leave Switzerland. However, Rima Fleyhane, a representative of the opposition, said its delegation will insist on transitional governance.

Cambodia Demonstations14:40

Egypt’s top military council approves Sisi running for president – reports

Egypt’s top military council has given the army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a green light to run for president, Reuters reported, citing a security source. “The top army officials all endorsed Sisi running for the presidency,” according to the source. Sisi could announce his candidacy within days.

Extremists kill 52 in northeast Nigeria attack14:21

Extremists kill 52 in northeast Nigeria attack – officials

Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives to attack a village in Nigeria’s northeast, killing 52 people and destroying more than 300 homes, AP said, citing security officials. The attackers reportedly planted several explosives at a market near Kawuri village on Sunday. Witnesses say there were more than 50 attackers. Officials blame the Islamic terrorist network Boko Haram, which has killed thousands over four years in Nigeria’s northeast. Since May, Northeast Nigeria has been under a military state of emergency.

The Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, was elected on Monday14:09

Russian MP heads conservative caucus at PACE

The Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, was elected on Monday the head of the faction of European Democrats in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “It unites more than 80 deputies from Britain, Turkey, and Norway,” Pushkov wrote on his Twitter account. Pushkov earlier assumed the functions of acting head of the European Democrat Group. He is also the head of the Russian delegation in the PACE.

13:40

Tunisia president signs new constitution

President Moncef Marzouki and the head of the National Assembly signed Tunisia’s new constitution on Monday, Reuters reported. The constitution was approved by assembly deputies on Sunday evening, which ended months of deadlock. The country’s transition got back on track when ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, agreed to compromise late last year and step down to make way for a technocrat government. It will govern until the vote later this year.

syrias dying children

syrias dying children

12:59

US urges Syria to allow aid convoy into Homs

The US called on the Syrian government on Monday to allow aid convoys into the old city of Homs, where “people are starving,” Reuters reported. All civilians must be allowed to leave the besieged area freely as the situation is “desperate,” US State Department spokesman, Edgar Vasquez, said in Geneva. The evacuation of women and children from rebel-held Homs, as proposed by the Damascus delegation at peace talks, is “not sufficient,” Vasquez said.

Iran and the Lifting of Sanctions12:46

‘Significant sanctions’ still in place against Iran – US official

David Cohen, the top US Treasury official dealing with sanctions, has told companies interested in doing business in Iran to “hold off,” AP said. Speaking in Turkey, Cohen warned that there are still significant sanctions in place against Iran. “The day may come when Iran is open for business but the day is not today,”the official said. Ankara is looking to expand business opportunities with its neighbor. Last week, Washington and the EU partially lifted economic sanctions on Tehran. The move came after Iran unplugged banks of centrifuges involved in its most sensitive uranium enrichment.

Syria Opposition Refuses to Take Part at Geneva212:28

Opposition rejects Syria govt terms for Geneva talks – report

Syria’s government delegation at peace talks in Geneva presented a declaration of basic principles for negotiations which did not mention a transition of power, Syrian television said on Monday. The proposal was rejected by the opposition, Reuters reported. The declaration said Syrians would choose a political system without “imposed formulas” from abroad. The West and regional state demand that President Bashar Assad step down and hand power to a transitional government.

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour has promoted the country's powerful army chief to the top military rank of marshal,11:19

Egypt’s interim president promotes army chief to rank of marshal

Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has promoted the country’s powerful army chief to the top military rank of marshal, state television said. Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, who led the July 3 coup that ousted the nation’s Islamist president, is expected to step down to become a candidate in Egypt’s coming presidential elections, AP said. As the elections are set to take place before the end of April, al-Sisi has yet to publicly announce his intentions.

Afghanistan Priosoners Released10:27

Afghanistan to free 37 prisoners despite US protests

Afghanistan announced Monday that within two weeks it will release the first batch of alleged Taliban prisoners whom the US says are responsible for dozens of NATO and Afghan deaths, AFP said. Earlier Kabul said that a total of 72 detainees held at Bagram Prison near the Afghan capital would be freed due to lack of evidence. The US military force in Afghanistan condemned the news, saying the prisoners were “dangerous insurgents.” US-Afghan relations are strained over a number of issues including President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a pact on Washington’s future military role in the country.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsdesk, #afghanistan, #bashar-al-assad, #european-democrat-group, #geneva, #homs, #moncef-marzouki, #monday, #nigeria, #parliamentary-assembly-of-the-council-of-europe, #reuters, #syria, #united-states

#Geneva2 : “Syrian `Government Opposition’ Agree’ `Direct Talks’ on Saturday”

#AceNewsServices says `Syrian Government Opposition’ delegations agree to meet ‘in the same room `Saturday’

Published time: January 24, 2014 17:14
Edited time: January 24, 2014 17:46
United Nations Peace Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (Reuters / Mohamed Azakir)United Nations Peace Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (Reuters / Mohamed Azakir)
Syria’s government and opposition delegations have agreed to hold direct talks on Saturday, UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said, adding that the two sides recognize the principles of the Geneva 1 communique.

Tomorrow we have agreed that we shall meet in same room, Brahimi told a news conference after he held separate meetings with government and opposition delegations in Geneva. “Both parties will be here tomorrow…they will not leave on Saturday or Sunday,” he said, adidng the discussions were “encouraging.”

The envoy acknowledged, however, that core matters are yet to be discussed and that the resolution of the conflict will not be without its challenges. “I hope that they will go smoothly…we do expect some bumps on the road,” he said.”It’s impossible that there aren’t any in a situation like this.”

Saturday’s meeting will focus on the humanitarian situation in Syria and accessing blocked areas. The talks will be based on the Geneva 1 communique – the June 2012 statement by world powers which called for the two sides to agree on the establishment of a transitional body. Brahimi stated that it is clear to both sides that the “meat” of the conference would be how do implement the dispositions of the Geneva Communique, while noting that “there are different interpretations on some of those items”.

I think the two sides understand that very well and accept it,” Brahimi said.

Anas al-Absah, an opposition delegate told Reuters after Brahimi’s statements: “We are satisfied with Mr. Brahimi’s statement today and that the regime has accepted Geneva 1 (communique). And on this basis we will meet the Assad delegation tomorrow morning. It will be a short session in which only Brahimi will speak, to be followed by another session, a longer session in the afternoon.”

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsservices, #geneva2-peace-conference, #geneva2convention, #bashar-al-assad, #brahimi, #council-of-ministers-syria, #geneva, #geneva2, #lakhdar-brahimi, #reuters, #saturday, #syria, #united-nations

#Geneva2 : ” Formal Discussions on `How’ to Alleviate this `Ferocious Civil War’ Ready to Commence”

#AceNewsServices says `Syrian Opposition‘ refuses to meet govt face-to-face at #Geneva2 talks

Published time: January 24, 2014 00:41
Edited time: January 24, 2014 01:53
Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the "Geneva II" peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the “Geneva II” peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)
The Syrian opposition involved in the Geneva 2 peace talks said a face-to-face meeting with President Bashar Assad’s representatives is unlikely to happen. Formal discussions on how to alleviate the ferocious civil war are set to begin on Friday.

United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will move between the two delegations at the talks in Switzerland, which will ramp up Friday under the patronage of the UN and world powers like Russia and the United States.

Haitham Al-Maleh, a senior member of the opposition coalition, said it was “not easy” to sit in the same room with Assad’s regime during Wednesday’s opening of the conference. He does not expect the more intensive negotiations to involve the two sides sitting down with one another, either.

“I don’t think we’re ready for that yet. The gap is too big,” he told the Times of Israel.

On Thursday, the opposition stayed firm with its major demand that President Assad should step down, as his “regime is dead” and the country is looking “into the future without him.”

“This is the basis of our negotiations and we will demand it,” Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Jarba said, according to Reuters.

Syrian government officials in attendance left the talks on Thursday without making a statement, insisting that Assad has no plans to step down.

“Obviously he is not ready at this point in time,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.

Jarba also said that Russia, Assad’s ally, has pledged it is not “holding on” to the Syrian president.“When I met Lavrov last week in Paris, he confirmed that Russia isn’t holding on to Assad,” he said.

The palpable fragility of the talks centers around arguments for and against Assad’s role in a transitional government. Both sides are threatening to pull out if their demands are not met.

“We have started to look into the future without him. Assad and all of his regime is in the past now. Nobody should have any doubt that the head of the regime is finished. This regime is dead,” Jarba said, underscoring a tenor of limited expectations at the Geneva 2 talks.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

The first day of talks in Switzerland, on Wednesday, was riddled with harsh denunciations made by both sides of the other’s lack of compromise and brutality on the ground during a fierce civil war.

Meanwhile, other participants defended their own prerogatives. Western countries, Arab states, and Turkey supported the opposition in calling for a transitional government that excludes Assad. Russia pushed for the talks to be focused on tamping down terrorism.

One opposition representative has stated that a slower, step-by-step process is needed. He said that practical moves like prisoner swaps, ceasefires, weapons withdrawals, and aid centers should be established before any talk of Syria’s political future begins.

Islamist fighters antagonistic to both Assad and the opposition officially backed by the US and others are not represented at the talks. Al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militant groups, which control large swaths of territory, have accused opposition members in attendance of being traitors. Assad’s main regional ally, Iran, is also not involved in the Geneva 2 conference. The nation’s invitation was rescinded by the UN shortly before talks began this week.

Over 130,000 people are believed to have perished since the country’s civil war broke out in 2011. Nearly a third of Syria’s 22 million residents have been displaced, and half are in need of international aid, according to Reuters.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsservices, #geneva2-peace-conference, #assad, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #john-kerry, #lakhdar-brahimi, #national-coalition-for-syrian-revolutionary-and-opposition-forces, #syria, #syrian-opposition, #united-states, #walid-muallem

#AcePictureNews -`4 Dead as Suicide Blast Rocks Beirut’ – 23 January 2014 –

#AceNewsDesk says they say that every `Picture Tells A Story’ well this one certainly does  

“Suicide Blast Rocks Beirut

2014

Courtesy of AFP/Photo

Lebanon 2014

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsdesk, #acepicturenews, #bashar-al-assad, #beirut, #haret-hreik, #hezbollah, #shia-islam, #suicide, #suicide-attack, #syria

#AceNewsDesk : ” World News – Latest Headlines – 22 January 2014″

Ace News Group

Israel – Palestine – Gaza Strip – Syria – Bashar Assad – Al Qaeda – Germany – Latvia – Saudi – United States – Ukraine – Security – Cyber-Crime    

15:23

Israel detains 2 Palestinians in Jerusalem ‘planning attacks’ for Al-Qaeda

Israel has arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were planning to carry out attacks for Al-Qaeda, with the help of foreign suicide bombers posing as Russian tourists, the Shin Bet intelligence agency said. The men were recruited by another Al-Qaeda agent in the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported. Hamas Islamists governing Gaza rejected the spy agency’s account as “silly fabrications” and described it as an attempt to justify Israeli military strikes in the territory.

14:56

Syria govt, opposition to start talks in Geneva on Friday – UN

Delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition will start bilateral talks on Friday, Itar-Tass reported, citing the UN secretary-general’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky. UN chief Ban Ki-moon earlier met with representatives of the Syrian opposition. He will also meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

14:32

German cyber crime watchdog knew of mass cyber theft

Germany’s cyber crime watchdog said on Wednesday it had learnt last month of the mass theft of 16 million digital identities through a criminal probe. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said it required weeks of investigation before alerting the public, AFP reported. Cyber criminals stole email addresses and matching passwords, which could also compromise linked social media, shopping and other online services.

13:15

Assad ‘won’t step down’ – Syrian minister

President Bashar Assad will not step down, as demanded by some of the international powers, Syria’s Information Minister said on Wednesday. “Assad isn’t going,” AFP quoted Omaran Zoabi as saying on the sidelines of peace talks in the Swiss resort of Montreux. The Syrian opposition had just before called on the Syrian leader to hand over power to a transitional government.

11:52

Straujuma becomes Latvia’s first female PM

Latvian lawmakers have confirmed the country’s first government led by a female prime minister, Laimdota Straujuma. Sixty-four votes were cast in favor of the center-right government, while 27 were against on Wednesday, AP reported. Straujuma, 62, a long-time civil servant, is a compromise figure after Latvia’s president rejected several other candidates. She joined the senior coalition party Unity earlier this month to take the post. The previous government of Valdis Dombrovskis resigned in November after a supermarket roof collapse killed 54 people.

11:24

No role for Assad in Syria transition – Saudi FM

There can be no role in Syria’s transition for President Bashar Assad and those whose hands are “stained in blood,” Reuters quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as saying on Wednesday. Speaking at an international conference on Syria in Switzerland, Prince Saud called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They are backing the Syrian government against rebel forces.

10:49

US revokes Ukrainian officials’ visas for crushing protesters

The US has revoked the visas of several Ukrainian citizens who were allegedly linked to violent actions against the protestors in Kiev in November and December 2013. Their names were not disclosed due to US confidential policy. The US Embassy in Kiev said it is considering further sanctions against people responsible for violence in Kiev.

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsdesk, #al-qaeda, #assad, #bashar-al-assad, #federal-office-for-information-security, #gaza-strip, #laimdota-straujuma, #montreux, #syria, #syrian-opposition, #united-states, #wednesday

#AceNewsDesk : ” World News – Latest Headlines – 21 January 2014″

Ace News Group

15:53

Syrian opposition forms delegation for Geneva 2 peace conference

The National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCROF) of Syria has formed a ten-member delegation for the Geneva 2 peace conference set to begin on Wednesday, Itar-Tass reports, citing the opposition groups official press service. NCROF leader Ahmed al-Jarboe will reportedly lead the delegation, with vice presidents Nur al- Amir and Abdel Hakim, along with Syrian national council board member Badr Dzharmus, set to participate. Louay Safi, chairman of the Syrian American Council, will also be present at Montreux.

15:32

​Pakistan militant bus bombing kills at least 18

A bomb, detonated near a convoy of buses in western Pakistan, has killed at least 18 Shiite pilgrims, according to initial reports. However, local officials told Reuters that at least 22 had died as a result of the blast. The groups on the bus were returning from an excursion to Iran, and were passing through the city of Quetta when the bomb detonated. A police officer, Mohammad Aslam, told AP that the likely death toll of 18 could rise as several of the 24 others injured were in a critical condition.

15:21

Spain retakes number three spot in world tourism

Spain announced on Tuesday that it retook the number three position in world tourism in 2013. The country overtook China by luring a record 60.6 million international visitors, AFP reported. Foreign tourist arrivals surged by 5.6 percent in the year, the government said, boosting the euro zone’s fourth largest economy. “The new figures for 2013 allow our country to retake the number three position in this indicator after having overtaken China,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said. Spain stood behind only France with 83 million international tourist arrivals and the US with 67 million.

14:50

Syrian opposition to demand removal of Assad in peace talks

Syria’s opposition group, the National Coalition, warned on Tuesday it would demand the removal of “criminal” President Bashar Assad. On his arrival in Switzerland ahead of a peace conference, Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the National Coalition and member of its negotiating team, said: “We will not accept less than the removal of the criminal Bashar Assad and changing the regime and holding the murderers accountable.” The regime in Damascus “does not deserve less than being sent to stand trial in front of the International Criminal Court,” he told Reuters.

14:15

Obama to visit pope in March

US President Barack Obama plans to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican in March during a trip to Europe, Reuters reported. The president is scheduled to meet with the pope on March 27, the White House said on Tuesday. The trip will include stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.

13:56

Senegal releases Russia’s trawler

The authorities in Senegal have released the Oleg Naidyonov trawler which was detained by Senegalese servicemen and convoyed to Dakar’s port in early January. Yury Parshev, director of the Murmansk company Phoenix that owns the ship, told Interfax that the authorities were ready to stand bail for the detained trawler. The Russian Foreign Ministry had demanded immediate release of trawler.

13:24

Gunmen briefly hold 60 Afghan de-miners hostage

Armed men briefly held about 60 de-miners hostage in the northwest of Afghanistan on Tuesday before an operation by security forces freed them, AFP reported. The mine clearance workers, all Afghans, working for the British Halo Trust, were taken by gunmen from a camp in the Pashtun Zarghun district of Herat province. Halo said the kidnappers were not Taliban members. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry said that all the abducted de-miners have been freed.

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsdesk, #barack-obama, #bashar-al-assad, #international-criminal-court, #mariano-rajoy, #national-coalition, #syria, #syrian-american-council, #syrian-opposition

#Syria : “Bashar Al Assad’ says `Significant Chance’ he Will Stand in Next Election”

#AceNewsServices says Assad: Significant chance I will stand for next elections

Published time: January 20, 2014 09:48
Edited time: January 20, 2014 12:21
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters / SANA)

Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters / SANA)

President Bashar Assad said in an exclusive interview to AFP that he has decided to participate in Syria’s future presidential elections. He also stressed that the War on Terror should be the major focus of the #Geneva2peaceconference.

With the Geneva 2 peace talks starting on Wednesday, January 22, Assad set the record straight on what he and his government expect from the negotiations with the Syrian opposition in Switzerland.

“I see no reason why I should not stand [for elections],” said Assad, hosting foreign journalists at the presidential palace in Damascus.

Since “there is public desire and a public opinion in favor of my candidacy, I will not hesitate for a second to run for election,” he told AFP, adding that chances for his candidacy are “significant.”

After two days of heated debate, the Syrian National Coalition of opposition forces has voted in favor of going to Switzerland for peace talks scheduled for January 22.

But even moderate Western-backed political opposition group the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC), continues to insist that future transitional government should be “free of Assad and his inner circle,” as the head of the opposition group’s media office, Khalid Saleh, put it.

Assad dismissed this stance, saying the objective to oust him was imposed on the moderate opposition by Western sponsors.

Speaking about the second major demand, that the position of PM in the future transitional government should be allocated to one of the key opposition leaders, Assad labeled these propositions as “totally unrealistic,” but “a good joke.”

“How could they be ministers in the government?” asked the Syrian president, if all they are capable of is coming to the Syrian border “for a 30-minute photo opportunity,” after which they prefer to flee.

Assad has no illusions about the conflict in Syria continuing, but he acknowledged that government troops are making a positive progress in the conflict, which has raged since March 2011.

“What we can say is that we are making progress and moving forward. This doesn’t mean that victory is near at hand; these kinds of battles are complicated, difficult and they need a lot of time,” said Assad, warning that if Damascus is going to lose the battle, that would mean the “spread of chaos throughout the Middle East.”

Assad particularly stressed that “The Geneva conference should produce clear results with regard to the fight against terrorism in Syria.”

“This is the most important decision or result that the Geneva conference could produce. Any political solution that is reached without fighting terrorism has no value,” he said.

President Assad also ashed out at France, accusing Paris of selling principles in return for petro-dollars from the Persian Gulf monarchies.

“France has become a proxy state implementing Qatari policies. This is also what we see happening now between France and Saudi Arabia,” he said, accusing French politicians of selling “the principles of the French Revolution in return for a few billion dollars.”

What’s more, Assad claimed that all policies of the Western states and the Gulf monarchies working on exporting terrorism into Syria are essentially an implementation of a single policy of only one state – the United States of America.

“Ever since 2001 and the terrorist attacks on New York, there has been no European policy-making to speak of,” Assad said, adding that “in the West there is only an American policy, which is implemented by some European countries.”

“I don’t think that France will play a role in the immediate future, unless it changes its policy completely and from its core and returns to the politically independent state it once was,” he said, rejecting France’s playing any significant role in the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsservices, #assad, #bashar-al-assad, #bashar-assad, #damascus, #france, #french-revolution, #geneva, #national-coalition-for-syrian-revolutionary-and-opposition-forces, #president-assad, #president-bashar-al-assad, #presidential-elections, #switzerland, #syria, #syrian-opposition, #transitional-government, #united-states

Sochi Winter Olympics: “Russia’s Hidden Agenda”

#AceWorldNews says following Monday’s terrorist bombings only 400 miles away from the site of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have a geopolitical back story involving implied threats from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer when Bandar was pressing Putin to withdraw his backing for the #Syrian government.

Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary-General of the Na...

Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary-General of the National Security Council of Saudi Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a diplomatic leak detailing the Bandar-Putin meeting in Moscow on July 31, Bandar suggested that Putin’s agreement to abandon the #Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would lead Saudi Arabia to restrain its Chechen terrorist clients who have attacked Russia targets for years. Putin reportedly grew furious, interpreting Bandar’s offer as a warning that the Sochi games would be threatened by terrorism if Putin didn’t comply.

At the time, I was even told that Putin warned Saudi Arabia of potentially severe consequences – suggesting military retaliation – if Bandar’s implied warning was followed up by actual terrorist attacks like the ones in Volvograd on Monday, killing more than 30 people.

Of course, it is always hard to trace specific terrorist acts back to their origins and many terrorist cells operate with much autonomy. But Putin has staked much of his prestige on a successful Olympics in Sochi, and he also would risk losing face if it were perceived that Bandar had executed a terrorist plan to disrupt the Winter Olympics and that Putin was powerless to stop it.

According to the leaked diplomatic account of last summer’s meeting, Bandar sought Russia’s cooperation on several Mideast concerns, including Syria, and told Putin, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

English: RIYADH. Before the beginning of the R...

English: RIYADH. Before the beginning of the Russian-Saudi talks. Русский: ЭР-РИЯД. Перед началом российско-саудовских переговоров. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Putin reportedly responded, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”

Besides safety for the Sochi Olympics, Bandar raised the potential of Saudi cooperation with Russia on oil and other investment matters, saying, “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,” according to the diplomatic account.

I was told by a source close to the Russian government that this mix of overt inducements and implied threats infuriated Putin who barely kept his anger in check through the end of the meeting with Bandar. Putin viewed Bandar’s offer to protect the Sochi Olympics as something akin to a Mafia don shaking down a shopkeeper for protection money by saying, “nice little business you got here, I’d hate to see anything happen to it.”

Putin then redoubled his support for the Syrian government in response to Bandar’s blend of bribes and warnings. The source said Russia also issued its own thinly veiled threats against the Saudis. The Saudis may have substantial “soft power” – with their oil and money – but Russia has its own formidable “hard power,” including a huge military, the source said.

Osama bin Laden compound

Osama bin Laden compound (Photo credit: Sajjad Ali Qureshi)

Bandar and Terrorism:

Over the years, Bandar has often treated the issue of “terrorism” as a situational ethic, an ambivalence well-honed since the days when Saudi Arabia and the Reagan administration teamed up to pour billions of dollars into the Afghan mujahedeen and their Arab jihadist allies fighting Soviet troops in the 1980s.

The anti-Soviet effort in Afghanistan brought to prominence Saudi national Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who later consolidated themselves under the global brand, al-Qaeda. In the 1980’s, these roving jihadists’ were hailed as brave defenders of Islam and even “freedom fighters,” but – in the 1990’s – they began targeting the United States with terrorist attacks, leading up to 9/11 in 2001.

At the time of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to the United States and was so close to the Bush family that he was nicknamed “Bandar Bush.” Bandar was also very close to the bin Laden family. After the attacks, Bandar even acknowledged having met Osama bin Laden in the context of bin Laden thanking Bandar for his help financing the Afghan jihad project.

“I was not impressed, to be honest with you,” Bandar told CNN’s Larry King about bin Laden. “I thought he was simple and very quiet guy.”

President Obama confirms death of Osama bin Laden

However, immediately after 9/11, Bandar undermined the FBI’s opportunity to learn more about the connections between Osama bin Laden’s relatives and the perpetrators of 9/11 when Bandar arranged for members of the bin Laden family to flee the United States on some of the first planes allowed back into the air – after only cursory interviews with FBI investigators. The only segment of the 9/11 Commission’s report to be blacked out was the part dealing with alleged Saudi financing for al-Qaeda.

Now, as chief of Saudi intelligence, Bandar appears to be back in the game of coercive geopolitics, arranging weapons for some of the most brutal Syrian rebels and Arab mercenaries operating inside Syria, while offering carrots-and-sticks to foreign leaders who are seen are malleable toward Saudi regional interests. The technique may have failed with Putin but had greater success in lining up the French behind Saudi opposition to a negotiated agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

As a repressive monarchy that preaches the ultra-conservative Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam, Saudi Arabia is bitterly opposed to the democratic reforms of the Arab Spring and the growing influence of Shiite Islam, which now stretches from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Hezbollah enclaves of Lebanon.

President Mohammed Morsi

Saudi Arabia backed the military coup in Egypt that ousted the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi. The Saudis also have stepped up assistance to Sunni-dominated rebels in Syria seeking to overthrow the Assad dynasty that is based in the Alawite religion, a branch of Shiite Islam.

The commonality of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel has given rise to a de facto alliance between the Saudi monarchy and the Jewish government of Israel. Though historically enemies, Israel and Saudi Arabia are now on the same page in backing Egypt’s military regime, in viewing Iran as their principal adversary, and in wanting a rebel victory in Syria.

The shifting sands of Middle East interests also have pushed the United States and Russia closer together, with the former Cold War rivals sharing an interest in tamping down disorder across the region. President Putin and President Barack Obama cooperated in reaching a tentative nuclear deal with Iran and in convincing Syria’s Assad to surrender his chemical weapons. Putin and Obama are pressing for Syrian peace talks, too.

Now, however, a new complication has been introduced: Islamist terrorist attacks aimed at undermining the Sochi Olympics. If Putin concludes that the Saudis are behind these bombings – that the attacks are the equivalent of a Mafia don having a store torched after the owner rebuffed an offer of “protection” – then the issue of Russian retaliation could suddenly be on the table.

Courtesy of and by Robert Parry

This article has originally appeared on Consortium News 

[NOTE: Alawites are not a Shiite branch. In fact, the two Islamic sects are different in form and content. Alawites’ are as much different from Shiites as they are from the Sunnis and this can even be observed in the form of daily prayers.]

#AceRelatedNews: Rivers of Hope 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#aceguestnews, #aceguestviews, #aceworldnews, #bandar, #bandar-bin-sultan, #barack-obama, #bashar-al-assad, #putin, #saudi, #saudi-arabia, #sochi, #syria, #united-states, #vladimir-putin

#Syria Misses Chemical Weapons Deadline #Peace

150 px

150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says with the start of the #Geneva2Convention just around the corner on January 22, this is not what we want to hear………………………………………………………..

EuroNews reports as and according to Damascus had agreed to hand over some of its most deadly toxins from the Syrian port of Latakia on December 31, but failed to show.

Officials from the ‘Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ had expected the deadline to be missed.

“We understand that a number of factors have added up which have made the Syrian authorities unable to meet this December 31 deadline – the poor weather in certain parts of Syria is one of these factors and, of course, the volatility of the security situation,” explained OPCWspokesman Christian Chartier.

The December date was supposed to have been the first milestone of a deal brokered by the US and Russia to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal by June 2014.

In a separate development, an anti-President Bashar al-Assad monitoring group based in Britain estimates that at least 130,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began in March 2011.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

 

#aceworldnews, #geneva2convention, #syrianews, #bashar-al-assad, #chemical-weapon, #chemical-weapons, #cyprus, #damascus, #december-31, #euronews, #latakia, #organisation-for-the-prohibition-of-chemical-weapons, #port-of-latakia, #syria

al-Assad sends a message to Pope Francis

#AceWorldNews says ” Assad Sends Message To Pope Francis” asking for greater rhetoric between all parties and everyone’s participation at Geneva2 Coference in 2014 #SyriaandPeace

Friends of Syria

Vatican, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday sent a message to Pope Francis conveyed by Minister of State Joseph Sweid during his meeting with the Pope’s Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin.

1534334_696655877019644_1388922333_n

In the message, President al-Assad expressed the Syrian people and leadership’s appreciation of the stances of his holiness regarding the crisis in Syria, highlighting that the crisis will be solved through national dialogue among the Syrians and under a Syrian leadership without foreign intervention as to enable the Syrians to determine their future and leadership through ballots.

The message stressed the Syrian government’s readiness to participate in the international conference on Syria “Geneva 2,” highlighting that combating the terrorism that targets citizens is a decisive factor in making any peaceful solution to the crisis a success.

The message also highlighted that stopping terrorism requires having the countries which are involved in supporting the armed terrorist groups stop…

View original post 170 more words

#aceworldnews, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva-ii, #pope-francis, #syria

United Nations Official Say’s That Perhaps 250,000 #Syrian’s Maybe Cut Off From Aid in Besieged Communities Across the War-Torn Country #Peace

#AceWorldNews says Reporting “modest progress” with the Syrian Government on speeding up visa issuance and increasing the number of relief distribution hubs, a top United Nations official said the other that with perhaps 250,000 Syrians cut off from aid in besieged communities across the war-torn country, greater efforts are needed to ensure real gains on the humanitarian front.

Security Council“I advised the Security Council that we have seen some modest progress in terms of administrative procedures that had been put in place over time,” said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, as she spoke to reporters after briefing the 15-member body on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

This is her second closed-door meeting with the Council since it adopted, on 2 October, a Presidential Statement urging the Syrian Government to immediately allow humanitarian access to relieve the plight of civilians trapped by heavy fighting, including cross-line aid deliveries.

The statement, which called on all parties to the conflict to agree on humanitarian pauses in the fighting, with special attention to key delivery routes, also deplored the escalating violence in a conflict that has killed more than 100, 000 people and driven some 6.5 million others from their homes since opposition protesters first sought to oust the Government of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

On the implementation of the statement, Ms. Amos cited progress, for example, in the Government’s decision to grant some 50 visas on an individual basis.

OCHA SyriaDamascus has also given the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) permission to open three additional relief hubs, “but only two of these will actually be helpful to us, because the third being proposed – Al Sweida – will not allow us access into Western Dera’a, which is where the hard-to-reach communities are.”

She also noted that both the Government and the opposition had indicated who the interlocutors are for the UN to try to facilitate humanitarian access.

“However, I did remind the Council that on some of the more difficult areas – protection of civilians, de-militarization of schools and hospitals, access to besieged communities and also cross-line access to hard-to-reach areas – we have not seen any progress.

“I need the Council to continue to make it absolutely clear that targeting civilians is against international humanitarian law and that we need to do greater work to ensure that the recommendations in the Presidential Statement are achieved,” she declared.

Responding to questions, Ms. Amos said that an estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in besieged communities, while perhaps some 2.5 million were in hard-to-reach areas – places that aid workers have been able to reach but not frequently enough to make any real headway against the overall needs.

Asked if a Council resolution – which carry legal obligations for UN Member States ¬– would improve the situation, Ms. Amos said: “My focus is on how what has already been agreed can be put into effect. Should the Council agree on a resolution, then we will operationalize that.”

Indeed, while the UN and its partners have made gains in reaching civilians across the strife-riven country, in the context of the scale of the crisis, “this is far too few to meet the needs of the people. Of course the issue is what is the best means to reach people in need? For me, the unity of the Security Council is the key here.”

Meanwhile, UN agencies continue pressing ahead with relief efforts, now rushing to fortify desperate civilians against the oncoming winter season.

UNICEFBriefing the press in Geneva today, Marixie Mercado, spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned: “The scale of the humanitarian response needed for the looming winter is unprecedented, as the number quadrupled as compared to the previous year.”

She explained that in December 2012, there were approximately 1.15 million children affected by the crisis inside Syria, with an additional 232,000 Syrian children living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

As the conflict approaches its fourth year, those numbers have skyrocketed to 4.3 million and 1.2 million, respectively. UNICEF has worked since early October to equip children as quickly as possible for the cold. Blankets, plastic sheeting, winter clothing and hygiene kits are being distributed, along with wintered tents and fuel to heat classrooms.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Cyprus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For its part, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has commenced an emergency airlift of urgently needed winter supplies to reinforce its stockpile in northern Iraq with relief items for up to 50,000 vulnerable Syrians.  A UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777 landed at Erbil airport on Monday carrying 90 metric tons of relief items to help 4,400 families over the winter months, including plastic tarpaulins, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and kitchen sets.

“While UNHCR has adequate stocks inside Iraq to meet the immediate needs, we want to ensure that sufficient items are on-hand to address any developments,” said UNHCR’s Amman-based Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amin Awad. “The relief items we are airlifting will reinforce the UNHCR-led winterization regional response as temperatures are starting to drop across higher altitude areas in the Syria region.”

English: An armored vehicle from the United Na...

English: An armored vehicle from the United Nations (UN) World Food Program (WFP) leads a convoy of UN vehicles in procession carrying the remains of bombing victims from the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI), as the arrive at , , during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The bombing victims remains will be airlifted to their respective home countries for repatriation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), told reporters that the agency dispatched enough food for over 3.4 million people inside Syria in November, mainly to internally displaced families in 13 governorates, and had reached eight more locations, which had been inaccessible in recent months.

However, she said WFP remains gravely concerned about the fate of many Syrians still trapped in conflict zones throughout the country, including around Damascus and in Al Hassakeh, where some areas have been without food assistance for six consecutive months.

WFP aims to reach 4 million people inside Syria every month, as well as to provide assistance for nearly 1.5 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

 

#aceworldnews, #bashar-al-assad, #damascus, #iraq, #middle-east, #peace, #presidential-statement, #syria, #syrian-government, #syrians, #unhcr, #unicef, #united-nations, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees, #united-nations-security-council, #world-food-programme

#Syria Geneva Two Conference Will Convene On 22 January 2014 #Peace

Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

Coat of arms of Syria — the “Hawk of Qureish” with shield of vertical tricolor of the national flag, holding a scroll with the words الجمهورية العربية السورية (Al-Jumhuriyah al-`Arabiyah as-Suriyah “The Syrian Arab Republic”). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says that Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:

I welcome the announcement by the United Nations that the “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria will begin on 22nd January. A negotiated political transition in Syria is the only way to end the conflict and alleviate Syria’s humanitarian crisis. I am determined to ensure that the political process includes a direct role for women’s groups, and we will work closely with the UN and the international community to make this a reality.

When I hosted a meeting of the ‘London 11’ Core Group of the Friends of Syria on 22 October, we resolved to put our collective weight behind the Geneva II process, making clear that a political transition would mean that Assad can have no future role in Syria. I greatly welcome the opposition National Coalition’s decision to participate, recognising them as being at the heart and lead of the opposition delegation. Our support for them will be extended and sustained throughout the Geneva II process.

The Syrian regime is now in the spotlight. They need to take immediate steps to alleviate humanitarian suffering across the country, and stop their brutal tactics which include besieging and attacking civilian areas. In the coming weeks they need to demonstrate that they will go to the Geneva II talks prepared to negotiate a political transition and end the violence.

#bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #london, #national-coalition, #secretary-of-state-for-foreign-and-commonwealth-affairs, #syria, #united-nations, #william-hague

Christians Finally Defend Themselves And Raise Arms To Fight Back In Syria

#AceWorldNewsChristians Raise Arms To Defend Themselves To Fight Back In” #Syria

EDITOR SAYS:

PLEASE BE AWARE THESE VIDEOS SHOCK AND SHOULD BE VIEWED ACCORDINGLY  

 

#bashar-al-assad, #christian, #christianity-in-syria, #damascus, #homs, #middle-east, #syria, #syriac-orthodox-church

League of Arab States Strong Endorsement of the Geneva Two Process

Arab League states and Israel map.

Arab League states and Israel map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Responding to the League of Arab States’ statement on Syria, an FCO spokesperson said:

We welcome the League of Arab States’ strong endorsement of the Geneva II process and their support for the Syrian National Coalition, who we recognise as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

We agree with the League that Geneva II is necessary to end to this bloody conflict and secure a transition to a sustainable political settlement in Syria, where there will be no place for Assad.

We share the League’s deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation and the need urgently to improve humanitarian access. We call on all parties to comply with the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement on humanitarian access. The Assad regime continues to obstruct efforts by humanitarian actors to meet the needs of the millions of Syrians suffering displacement and deprivation. This is unacceptable. It must stop.

 

#acepoliticalnews, #arab-league, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #geneva-ii, #middle-east, #national-coalition-for-syrian-revolutionary-and-opposition-forces, #syria, #syrian-people, #united-nations-security-council

Nineteen Islamist Groups Fighting to Topple President Bashar al-Assad have Rejected Outright a Mooted US-Russian #Peace Initiative for #Syria

Courtesy of Voice of Russia

19 Islamist rebel groups bow out of Syria peace talks

Photo: EPA

Nineteen Islamist groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have rejected outright a mooted US-Russian peace initiative for Syria dubbed Geneva 2, a statement said.

“We announce that the Geneva 2 conference is not, nor will it ever be our people’s choice or our revolution’s demand,” the groups said in a late Saturday statement read in an online video by Ahmad Eissa al-Sheikh, chief of the Suqur al-Sham chief.

“We consider it just another part of the conspiracy to throw our revolution off track and to abort it.”

The statement also warned that anyone who went to such talks would be committing “treason, and … would have to answer for it before our courts”.

The statement comes weeks after dozens of major rebel groups across Syria said the Western-backed opposition umbrella grouping the National Coalition had “failed”.

The Geneva talks slated for next month aim to bring rebel and regime representatives to the table in a bid to seek a negotiated end to the Syrian conflict, which according to a rights group has claimed more than 115,000 lives since it erupted in March 2011.

The National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees they Assad will step down.

Assad for his part has said “the factors are not yet in place” for such talks, and he has repeatedly rejected negotiations with any group with ties to the rebels or to foreign states.

Among the signatories to Saturday’s statement are powerful Islamist groups Liwa al-Tawhid, Ahrar al-Sham, Suqur al-Sham and Ahfad al-Rasul, which has fought against Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters in Syria.

Read more:

– Kerry and Lavrov discuss planned Syria conference

– Lavrov, Brahimi agree to continue work on convocation of Geneva-2 conference

– UN Syria peace envoy says Iran should come to Geneva talks

– Geneva-2: Obama knows Americans can’t use force – expert

– Syria opposition to decide November 9 on Geneva talks

 Voice of Russia, AFP
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_10_27/19-Islamist-rebel-groups-bow-out-of-Syria-peace-talks-5278/

#aceworldnews, #ahrar-al-sham, #al-qaeda, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #iran, #islamism, #peace, #syria, #united-states

Friends of #Syria Meeting to be Hosted in London#Peace

William Hague speaks on behalf of ‘London 11’ after core group of the Friends of Syria and President of National Coalition meet in London.

After the conclusion of a core group of the Friends of Syria meeting which he had hosted in London, the Foreign Secretary spoke on behalf of the group.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

We have just concluded an important and productive meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of Syria core group, including the President of the Syrian National Coalition.

We have met against the backdrop of the regime’s escalating use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force against the people of Syria. They are using tanks, torture, artillery, SCUD missiles, air attacks; laying siege to desperate people; and presiding over the creation of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Members of the opposition have spoken powerfully about people starving and women and children suffering at the hands of the regime. The only sustainable way to end this conflict and the suffering of innocent Syrian civilians is through a political transition in Syria. The purpose of our meeting today has been to send a signal of our resolve, our unity and determination in brining that about, building on the diplomatic progress made during the UN General Assembly last month.

We have agreed a number of important steps today:

First, we agreed that we would put our united and collective weight behind the UN-led Geneva II process, which must lead to establishing by mutual consent a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers as set out in the Communiqué in 2012. By definition that means that it can only be agreed with the consent of the Syrian National Coalition. So Assad will play no role in that future Government of Syria.

Second, despite the enormous challenges faced by the Syrian opposition, we urged the National Coalition to commit itself fully to the Geneva II process and to lead and form the heart of any opposition delegation. Geneva offers the Syrian people the best hope to improve their lives.

Third, we agreed with them that we will provide the intensive political and practical support that will be required to give the Geneva II process the best chance of success.

Fourth, we agreed a set of principles, attached to today’s communiqué, that underline the unity of our approach to the Geneva II process as the Friends of Syria core group.

We agreed the Syrian opposition, including the moderate armed groups, and moderate opposition represented by the coalition continue to need our strong collective backing. There can be no peaceful and political settlement in Syria without the participation of the moderate opposition. So we pledged further support to them.

Syria

Syria (Photo credit: Yishac – Isaac Alvarez i Brugada)

President Al Jarba attended lunch and made clear, as in New York, his support. We are as clear as he is that Assad has no part in the future of Syria.

The UK will continue to support the opposition in its efforts to help and protect the Syrian people from the murderous abuses of the regime through the more than £20 million in support to the opposition that we have provided this year. This is support that to helps to save lives and provide services to the Syrian population – including search and rescue equipment and training, power generators, communications, support and training to civil administrations.

Between now and Geneva II Conference, we plan to announce a further package of UK support, including substantial non-lethal support to the National Coalition working with General Idris of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council. This assistance is likely to take the form of communications, medical, and logistics equipment. It will help them to save lives on the ground.

None of us has lost sight of the deepening humanitarian disaster.

As winter approaches, the risks are growing to the nearly 7 million Syrians in need. This is compounded still further by the actions of the regime. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said yesterday that the UN continues to be denied access on the ground to those in need of humanitarian assistance by obstacles placed by the Syrian regime. In the suburbs of Damascus, many innocent Syrians remain trapped as a result of the regime’s siege tactics. This is unacceptable and full and uninhibited access for humanitarian aid to people in need must be allowed.

We have intensified the humanitarian support our eleven countries are providing, and encourage others to do the same through further funding pledges and we will be pressing the case for humanitarian access as called for by the UN Security Council on 2 October.

The UK is the second largest humanitarian donor to the Syria conflict with over £500 million of aid allocated to date. Yesterday, we announced a further £15.5 million of lifesaving support to Palestinian refugees both inside Syrian and in neighbouring countries. This will include food for over 150,000 people and clothing for people in need of urgent help.

Our eleven countries will continue to work closely together in the weeks leading up to a Geneva Conference to ensure it has the best possible chance of success, and the people of Syria finally get the political transition they so desperately need and deserve.

 

#aceworldnews, #bashar-al-assad, #friends-of-syria-group, #geneva, #london, #national-coalition-for-syrian-revolutionary-and-opposition-forces, #peace, #syria, #syrian-opposition, #united-nations, #william-hague

UN-Urges-Countries-to-Ensure-Safe-Passage-for-#Syrians-Fleeing-Conflict

Flag of United Nations Refugee Agency

Flag of United Nations Refugee Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the numbers of Syrians seeking safety in Europe on the rise, the United Nations refugee agency <“http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/search?page=search&docid=526108d89&query=Italy“>said today it is concerned about difficulties displaced people face during their passage and at borders, including the risk of drowning at sea.

Melissa Fleming, chief spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), cited the case of a boat carrying between 400 and 500 Syrians and Palestinians that sank in the Mediterranean last Friday. Only 200 people have been rescued.

“We are disturbed that the cause of the tragedy could well be attributed to shots that were fired after the boat left Libya, injuring four passengers and damaging the hull,” Ms. Fleming told a news conference in Geneva.

The same day, she noted, a boat sank just off Alexandria in Egypt with an estimated 112 passengers on board, 40 of whom were Syrian. Twelve bodies were recovered, including five children. The survivors are being held in detention facilities in two police stations.

They were among a growing number of Syrians trying to cross the Mediterranean from Egypt to Italy because of anxiety about their security, according to UNHCR. Many mention physical assaults, verbal threats, detention and deportation.

The Egyptian Government estimates that some 250,000 to 300,000 Syrians currently reside in Egypt, of whom more than 122,000 are registered with UNHCR.

Between January and the end of September, at least 7,557 Syrians and Palestinians arrived on the coast of Italy, including 6,233 since August in 63 boats. This compares to about 350 Syrians in 2012. Most of the Syrian refugees that reach Italy continue on to other countries in Europe in search of asylum.

UNHCR was particularly concerned about the increasing number of unaccompanied children making the voyage. As the cost of travel can range from $2,000-$5,000 per person, some families opt to send their children alone or with relatives or friends.

“UNHCR notes with concern that over 800 Syrians have been arrested in Egypt since August for attempting to illegally depart and 144, including 44 children, have been deported to third countries,” said Ms. Fleming.

“Although charges have not been laid, approximately 589 Syrians remain in administrative detention, including women and 84 children. UNHCR is seeking access to the detained in order to properly verify numbers, conditions, and needs, or provide legal assistance,” she added.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UNHCR recognizes that a number of countries in North Africa are increasingly affected by the displacement caused by the Syria crisis, placing additional demands on their infrastructure and resources. Given the dramatic needs of Syrian refugees, which are likely to continue and grow in the immediate future, reinforcement of capacity to receive them in North African countries is increasingly urgent, the agency stressed.

UNHCR is working with Governments, the European Union and other partners to put in place a comprehensive response to saving lives of refugees and migrants at sea. It is calling for a number of measures to prevent further tragedies and increase responsibility sharing.

Generous approaches to protection are needed, Ms. Fleming noted, including non-penalization of those arriving without identity documents, offering flexibility in the application of family reunification criteria and procedures, dispensing with certain visa requirements, and facilitation of the entry of Syrians for work, study, family or humanitarian purposes under national programmes.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since opposition groups first sought the ouster of President Bashar Al-Assad in March 2011. The conflict has also sent 2 million people fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries and displaced some 4.5 million people internally.

 

#peace-acenewsservices, #alexandria, #bashar-al-assad, #egypt, #european-union, #italy, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #syria, #syrian-people, #unhcr, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees