Cyprus considering Russian military use of airbase, port facilities

LARNARCA, Cyprus, June 24 (UPI) — Financially strapped Cyprus is looking at allowing Russian military aircraft to use an airbase in Paphos, the country’s defense minister said this weekend.

Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiu told the Nicosia daily Fileleftheros the country was “studying the possibility of providing in certain cases” the use of the Andreas Papandreou Air Force Base for Russian military aircraft. Continue reading

Syria will descend into ‘bloody chaos’ if UN envoy’s plan to establish transitional government fails: Russia

As history has shown, the UN is highly ineffective in keeping any meaningful peace. Therefore, expect chaos.

Russia warned Thursday Syria would descend into “bloody chaos” if a proposal from Lakhdar Brahimi, the international peace envoy, to set up a transitional government fails.

Mr. Brahimi challenged those in the conflict to work together to pave the way for democratic elections and sideline President Bashar al-Assad.

His proposal received strong backing from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said negotiations were the only way to end the fighting.

“The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos. The longer it continues, the greater its scale — and the worse things get for all,” he said. Continue reading

Russia helps U.S., Syria establish contact, Turkey in shock

With a little bit of help from Russia, the Americans and the Syrians have established contact with each other, sending shockwaves in Turkey, which has blamed Moscow and Beijing for the continuation of strife in Syria.

Addressing the American media on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov dropped a bombshell. He said that Moscow had helped the American experts to establish contact with the Syrians on the subject of chemical weapons. “I hope I won’t disclose any big secret, but we have helped American experts establish contact with the Syrians on this issue, and we have received explanations and assurances that the Syrian government is guarding these facilities in the best possible way,” said Mr. Lavrov, as reported by Russia Today.

Full article: Russia helps U.S., Syria establish contact, Turkey in shock (The Hindu)

Syria says preparing to finalize oil deal with Russia

In a third-world economy, there is no bottom. What sanctions? Syria has proven it will find a way around them.

Syria is preparing to complete a deal with ally Russia to secure much-needed oil products to keep its economy and military running, the head of a Syrian delegation to Russia said on Tuesday, weeks after he said an agreement had been reached.

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil on August 3 told reporters that an agreement had been reached for Syria to export crude to Russia in exchange for refined oil products.

“It was an agreement in principle reached during our last visit,” Jamil said at a news conference, adding that sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union were biting into the Syrian economy.

“We have to find an alternative path. I think in the near future we will complete the preparatory stage and move on to a real agreement on the delivery of oil and oil products,” he said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia has remained silent on the issue of an oil-for-oil-products swap deal, which could raise questions on the extent to which it might extend help to Assad’s government, whose days analysts and some western countries say are numbered.

Full article: Syria says preparing to finalize oil deal with Russia (Reuters)