BEIJING, June 7 (Reuters) – Leaders of a bloc grouping
China, Russia and Central Asian states called on Thursday for
dialogue to address the violence in Syria, all but guaranteeing
that there will be no end to the deadlock in discussions at the
U.N. Security Council.
Russia and China – permanent members of the U.N. Security
Council with the power to veto resolutions – have stymied
efforts by Western powers to condemn or call for the removal of
President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces, the U.N. says, have
killed at least 10,000 people in more than a year of unrest.
BEIJING (Reuters) – A bloc bringing together China, Russia and central Asian states wants to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao said in an interview published on Wednesday, as group leaders gathered for an annual summit.
But a senior Russian official ruled out any military involvement by Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members, despite fears instability will spread across the region as most foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
BEIJING (Reuters) – Russia called on Wednesday for an international meeting on the crisis in Syria, to include Western states and influential regional powers Iran and Turkey, to try to keep a peace plan afloat and blunt calls for any military intervention.
The proposal was announced by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a visit to China with President Vladimir Putin.
BEIJING (Reuters) – A regional bloc bringing together China, Russia and central Asian states wants to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao said in an interview published on Wednesday, as regional leaders gathered for their annual summit.
The future of neighbor Afghanistan, facing the withdrawal of most foreign combat forces by the end of 2014, is likely to be discussed at the two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), whose member states fear growing instability spilling across the central Asian region as the pullout goes on.
BEIJING, June 5 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin
and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, urged international
support on Tuesday for U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for
Syria, despite calls from Arab and Western states for a tougher
response to the bloodshed.
The show of unity from Putin and Hu showed how reluctant
they will be to abandon Annan’s plan, which they see as the most
viable path to peace in Syria. Western and Arab governments
blame forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad for a massacre
of 108 people last month, and many want a tougher response.
PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new president, Francois Hollande, failed to win the backing of Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Friday for tougher U.N. sanctions aimed at ending violence in Syria.
Outrage at last week’s mass killings in the Syrian town of Houla prompted France to join several Western nations in stepping up pressure on Syria by expelling senior diplomats and calling on Russia to allow tougher action by the U.N. Security Council.
BERLIN (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin denied on Friday that Russia was supplying arms to the Syrian government to crush rebels, brushing off U.S. criticism of a “reprehensible” arms shipment to Damascus.
Putin, speaking after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also reiterated that Moscow does not back any side in what he called an “extremely dangerous” situation in Syria and said patience was needed to achieve a political solution.
MINSK (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged moral support and new loans for Moscow’s ex-Soviet ally Belarus on Thursday in his first foreign visit since taking office.
The European Union has tightened sanctions against Belarus and withdrew ambassadors from Minsk in February over human rights violations. Relations improved after jailed opposition leader Andrei Sannikov was released.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is not considering changing its stance on Syria and any attempts to apply pressure on Moscow are “hardly appropriate”, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
“It would make sense to expect a continuation of the Russian Federation’s consistent and well-argued line” on Syria during Putin’s visit to Germany and France on Friday, Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A veteran aide to Vladimir Putin sought on Tuesday to dispel the impression that relations with Washington were on a downward spiral after anti-U.S. remarks from the Russian president and his decision not to attend the G8 summit.
Putin, a former KGB spy, snubbed an invitation to the U.S. this month and blamed U.S. officials for meddling in Russia’s internal affairs during the election campaign before a March 4 vote, stoking worries that his return heralded a new standoff.