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Russian FM goes to Brunei to discuss Syria with Kerry, attend RF-ASEAN meeting

June 30, 2013, 2:13 UTC+3

Тhe Syrian crisis keeps growing deeper, many analysts warn

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MOSCOW, June 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday is leaving for Brunei, where he will discuss Syria with US Secretary of State John Kerry and attend a Russia-ASEAN ministerial meeting, ASEAN’s regional security forum and the ministerial meeting of the East Asia Summit on July 1-2.

In the meantime, the Syrian crisis keeps growing deeper, many analysts warn. It is expected that at the meeting with his US counterpart Lavrov will try to clear up the United States’ attitude to the idea of holding an international conference on Syria. Regrettably, contrary to repeated statements about the need for convening a Geneva-2 conference as soon as possible there still is no clarity regarding the dates or the list of participants. Discord within the Syrian opposition makes the situation still worse. The moderates declare they are prepared to participate in Geneva-2, while the irreconcilables link their presence at the conference with the demand Syrian President Bashar Assad must resign. UN and LAS envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi doubts the conference may convene in July.

The Russia-ASEAN ministerial summit will be devoted to further cooperation by Russia and the Association of Southeast Asia.

“The development of dialogue and partnership with ASEAN has been identified as one of the priority tasks in the concept of Russia’s foreign policy. The foreign minister’s participation in the forthcoming meetings is expected to make a tangible contribution to their solution,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. High on the agenda will be such issues as regional security, resistance to terrorism and transnational crime, and specific measures to expand trading, economic and investment cooperation. There will be a discussion of promising projects in the sphere of innovations and high technologies, joint plans in space exploration, nano- and biotechnologies, energy and education.

The Russian side is determined to maintain pro-active participation in the inter-sessional mechanisms of the ARF along such priority guidelines as resistance to terrorism and organized crime, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, maritime security and rapid reaction to emergencies. Russia, alongside Malaysia and Australia, is in charge of cyber problems in the ARF. The three countries work together to draft a working plan for ensuring security in using information and communication technologies. A prominent place on the ARF agenda will be reserved for an exchange of opinion on key regional and international themes, such as the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Iran’s nuclear program, Syria, Afghanistan, and territorial disputes in the region.

“The East Asia Summit is winning acclaim as a major floor for a dialogue by the national leaders over strategic, political and economic issues of the Asia-Pacific Region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. At the moment the EAS unites the ASEAN Ten and ASEAN’s dialogue partners - Russia, China, the United States, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The foreign ministers will focus attention on preparations for and the content of the forthcoming East Asia Summit, due in Brunei’s capital Bandar-Seri-Begawan on October 10.

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