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ASTANA, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev begins his two-day official visit to Germany, where agreements worth 2 billion euros are expected to be signed.
According to the Central Asian republic’s Foreign Ministry, Nazarbayev will meet with Germany’s top politicians to discuss bilateral cooperation and the situation in the world.
“There are plans to sign a huge package of intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Altai Abibullayev said. Among them are an intergovernmental agreement on partnership on raw materials, industry and technologies.
“Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and New Technologies and Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety plan to sign a memorandum of understanding on energy saving, higher energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy,” Abibullayev said.
Within the framework of Nazarbayev’s visit representatives of the two countries’ business circles will hold meetings. Kazakh and German enterprises plan to sign over 40 documents worth 2 billion euros.
At present, Kazakhstan is one of Germany’s key economic partners in the CIS.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry noted that in 2011 the two countries’ trade amounted to 3.6 billion dollars, up by 22 percent as against the figure of 2010. Metallurgy, chemical industry, agriculture and medicine are the priority areas of the two countries’ cooperation.
One of the main documents determining the two countries’ cooperation is the program on innovation and investment partnership. Kazakh ambassador to Germany and Denmark Nurlan Onzhanov described the document as the “exchange of German technologies and innovations for Kazakhstan’s raw material resources.” The countries plan to extend the program until 2014.
The Eurasian club that will be unveiled in Berlin during Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit will also become a new mechanism of cooperation.
This will be “Kazakhstan’s first project in Europe that will allow it to open new channels of an expert level dialogue,” the spokesman said.
.Lavrov, Fradkov to hold talks with Assad in Damascus.
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MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov will begin their visit to Damascus on Tuesday on the president’s instructions.
The visit will take place in a very uneasy situation. Experts believe that the situation around Syria became even more strained, especially after Russia and China vetoed the UN Security Council resolution on Syria on February 4. Russia noted that the Morocco-proposed draft has sent unbalanced signals to the Syrian parties.
Many western states hastened to lay the blame for simmering riots in Syria on Moscow describing its position as “uncompromising.” Lavrov has already responded to opponents, “There are some evaluations in the West concerning the vote on Syria in the UN Security Council that sound, I would say, indecent and somewhere on the verge of hysteria,” Lavrov said. “Those who get angry are rarely right.”
In Syria clashes do not subside. On Monday soldiers of the Syrian army were in hot pursuit of militants’ armed groups on streets of Homs after they had staged several terror acts, a governmental source in Damascus said. According to the source, attacks were organized on police convoys, buses, ambulance cars in Homs and several buildings were detonated.
In Damascus Lavrov and Fradkov are expected to meet with President Bashar al-Assad.
The Russian diplomat did not disclose the details of the visit. At the same time the Russian side has repeatedly underlined that it has no intention to ask al-Assad to resign.
“I don’t think Russian policy is about asking people to step down. Regime change is not our profession,” Lavrov said earlier.
Middle East experts believe that Russia’s mission is aimed at studying what is really going on in that country, as journalists, especially those in the West, cover the events one-sidedly giving a focus to many deaths among civilians as a result of the Syrian army’s actions, but forgetting to mention about extremist groups that are raging throughout the country. A separate issue on the talks’ agenda is behavior of the Syrian opposition that sincerely declines to start a dialogue with the authorities feeling support of the West and ignoring calls, in particular those of Russia, to dissociate from militants.
Experts do not rule out that Moscow will try to reduce tensions in the Security Council and to get more flexible stances on the Syrian issue from its partners. It is no coincidence that Lavrov mentioned that Russia had addressed the UN Security Council with a request not to put the resolution to vote, but to wait for the results of the visit to Damascus.
In general the Russian mission to Syria once again confirms Moscow’s strong intention to seek political settlement of the conflict, the more so taking into account a sad experience in Libya.
“We fully support peaceful protests in Syria, but the armed opposition uses them for their own purposes,” Lavrov said earlier stressing the need for preventing a civil war.
.LAS to continue consultations with Moscow despite veto - chief.
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LONDON, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — The Arab League chief told Reuters on Monday that the League would continue consultations with Moscow on Syria despite Russian and Chinese double veto on a U.N. resolution on Syria.
Nabil Elaraby believes Russia and China have lost diplomatic credit in the Arab world by vetoing the resolution co-authored by seven countries members of the U.N. Security Council. However, he said the League of Arab States would continue working both with Moscow and Beijing, because “we need them”.
He admits at the same time that the Russian-Chinese veto at the U.N. Security Council will have a sobering effect on the Syrian opposition which hopes the crisis in Syria will be settled by the Libyan scenario.
The Arab League’s secretary general told Reuters that the veto had been a “reality check” for Syria’s opposition groups who have so far refused the League’s call to engage with President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
“I am not blaming them but the Syrian opposition was under an illusion that the Arab League was standing between them and the solution – the solution is the Libyan scenario. But the Libyan scenario is out of the picture,” he told Reuters.
Following a U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya on March 17, 2011, imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, NATO aircraft began massive air attacks on its territory. Owing to West’s interference, the government of Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and the opposition National Transitional Council came to power in Libya. It has failed to establish order in the country as of yet.
Elaraby believes in case a new mission of international observers is dispatched to Syria, it must have a different mandate, saying that it would need international and not just Arab backing this time. He also stressed that any new mission would require approval of the Syrian authorities, as with any other peacekeeping force deployed around the world.
.Tokyo to continue talks with Moscow on S Kurils ownership (adds).
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TOKYO, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday vowed to continue negotiations with Russia on the issue of the South Kurils ownership “in the atmosphere of mutual respect” and to conclude a post-World War II bilateral peace treaty with Russia. He made this statement at a national rally for the return of the Northern Territories here.
“We’ll continue to make steady and determined efforts to move ahead with negotiations,” Noda said, in particular. “The problem of the Northern Territories is one of the main in Russian-Japanese relations,” the prime minister said.
“We expect to continue cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect with the new leadership of Russia that will be formed after the election in March. Japan and Russia play an important role in the Asia Pacific region and we must develop our relations in accordance with the existing agreements,” Prime Minister Noda said.
The prime minister pledged to conduct negotiations on the thorny issue “resolutely and persistently” and to sign on that basis a post-World War II peace agreement with Russia. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba reminded the audience at the rally that the two countries had agreed to conduct a dialogue on the territorial issue in a calm atmosphere. “The Asia Pacific region is changing and Russia’s role in it is growing,” the minister noted. It is worthy of note that neither the prime minister nor the foreign minister used the term “illegal occupation” in regard to the South Kuril Islands, to which Russia is strongly opposed.
According to the Japanese government decision, the nationwide “Northern Territories Day” is held annually on February 7 because on the same day in 1855 the first Russian-Japanese agreement was signed. Taking part in this action are government ministers, MPs from the ruling and opposition political parties, former residents of the South Kuril Islands. Similar rallies are held in other cities in Japan.
February 7 is a special day for the Japanese ultra-nationalists that ride in buses around the Japanese capital on Tuesday with the propagandist slogans, singing through powerful loudspeakers the old military marches and making anti-Russian cries. Their behavior becomes especially noisy at the Russian Embassy, ··which is guarded by police squads.
.Ruling party’s faction wants parliament to pass statement denouncing ‘orange scenarios’.
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MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) —— The United Russia faction in the Russian State Duma lower parliament house plans to put for voting a draft statement denouncing any “orange scenarios” or radical moods in Russian politics, the faction leader, Andrei Vorobyev, said on Tuesday.
Touching on mass actions that were held on February 4, Vorobyev stressed that the ruling party is respectful of the position of “citizens, of their demands and pronouncements.” “But we must be aware that there is a group of persons, who seek a different scenario of force, chaos and revolution,” he said.
“We want to pass a resolution to push aside those, who are cherishing radical moods. We must prevent any shocks, revolutions, or an “orange scenario,” he stressed. The draft, in his words, is to state that “our civil society is developing, and anyone is welcome to propose ideas but all talks are to be held within the parliament, at a round table but not on barricades.”
The leader of the ruling party’s faction also said he hoped all other factions in the parliament would voice support to such a statement.
.Undiplomatic reaction confirms correctness of RF stance: deputy FM.
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MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — Undiplomatic reaction of the West to the Russian position on Syria confirms correctness of Moscow’s policy, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.
“Undiplomatic reaction of the West to Russia’s stance on Syria at the U.N. Security Council confirms correctness of our policy,” the diplomat wrote in his Twitter microblog.
.China supports RF's striving to achieve polit settlement of conflict in Syria-FM.
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MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — China supports Russia’s striving to try to achieve the political settlement of the conflict in Syria and hopes that a visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov to this country will be a success, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Lui Weimin told a briefing here on Tuesday.
“The Chinese government hopes that a visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov will be a success,” the ministry’s spokesman said. According to him, “China pays intent attention to the development of the situation in Syria, and the Chinese government studies the issue of sending a delegation to this country in the near future with the aim advancing the political settlement of the conflict.
Lui Weimin noted that “China comes out in favor of stopping the conflict in Syria as soon as possible and believes that a solution may be found only through talks and consultations.”
On the instruction of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Frdakov will visit Damascus on Tuesday to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad.
.Uzbekistan, Ukraine have good conditions for comprehensive cooperation.
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TASHKENT, February 7 (Itar-Tass) — Uzbek President Islam Karimov and visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko discussed prospects for developing cooperation between Uzbekistan and Ukraine, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interests.
"The relations between our countries are based on a solid legal and contractual basis, which creates favorable conditions for developing cooperation in a whole range of mutually advantageous areas," Karimov underlined. He noted that the consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries, which were last held during Grishchenko's visit, "confirmed the proximity and coincidence of views and approaches of Uzbekistan and Ukraine toward many issues of the development of international interaction and regional and international problems.
According to Karimov, Tashkent and Kiev "vigorously interact with the framework of such international bodies and the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States."
The parties also considered issues of cooperation in the economy, and an increase in the number of items in two-way trade. In 2011, trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Ukraine made up 665.9 million dollars. There are 48 companies with Ukrainian stakes operating in Uzbekistan.
In the course of his official visit to Uzbekistan, Grishchenko meet with speaker of the upper house of the Uzbek parliament Ilgizar Sobirov, and heads of several ministries and departments. Representatives of the business circles of the two countries had a meeting at the republic's Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
.Russian foreign minister, intelligence chief arrive in Damascus for talks with Assad.
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DAMASCUS, February 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov have arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The two Russian top-ranking officials were welcomed at the airport by a big Syrian delegation. It looks like Russian mediators have been awaited here. After a short meeting at the airport building, the Russian delegation headed for Bashar Assad’s residence.
Police posts have been installed along the 20-kilometer road to the presidential residence. There are few cars, helicopters are patrolling the skies over Damascus.
The situation seems calm. In the city, the motorcade is welcomed by people carrying Russian flags and chanting “Russia.”
.Russian foreign minister, intelligence chief begin talks with Syrian leader.
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DAMASCUS, February 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov have begun talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The two high-ranking officials arrived in the Syrian capital on Tuesday to try to find a way out of the Syrian crisis.
“It is in our interests to see Arab peoples live in peace and accord,” Lavrov said at the beginning of the talks with the Syrian leader.