World Bulletin / News Desk
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.
Putin will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in brief visits to Berlin and Paris, part of his first foreign trip since he returned to Russia's presidency for a six-year term on May 7.
Russia, which has blunted efforts to condemn President Bashar al-Assad and push him from power over 15 months of bloodshed, has been urged to stop supporting the government after a massacre Western nations blame on Assad's forces.
"Russia is a country with a consistent foreign policy and any pressure is hardly appropriate," Peskov said when asked whether Arab and Western countries were pressing Moscow to change its position.
"Nobody has unambiguous information" about the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla and Russia believes "one should not give in to emotions at such an important moment," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said both the Syrian government and its opponents were to blame for the killings, and Moscow has called for an investigation under the aegis of the U.N. observer mission in Syria.
Russia says it supports envoy Kofi Annan's U.N.-backed peace plan, not Assad or his government, and that nations with influence over government opponents must use it more effectively to get them to abide by a ceasefire.
Speaking in France almost a year ago, Putin said Russia has no special relationship with Syria and did "not intend to give anybody cover" but emphasized Moscow's opposition to foreign interference in sovereign states.
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Poroshenko is scheduled to see Putin in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Aug. 26 at a meeting that will also include top leaders of the European Union and of the Russian-led Customs Union.
Widodo will be able to speed up his preparations ahead of taking office on Oct. 20. He is expected to soon resign as Jakarta governor to focus on the transition.
Iraq said that sending Yazidis to the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh would be a breach of Azerbaijani territory.
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Counselling centers in jails where convicted terrorists will receive intensive religious and welfare counselling in order to de-radicalize those believed to be holding 'extremist' view will also be set up.
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Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal said: "We will not give up until Palestinian demands – at the top of which is lifting the Gaza siege – are fulfilled."
The report also touches on Iran's covert operations abroad, citing that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) along with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah have been actively fighting in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Up to 600 CEOs and investors were due to visit the Scottish city of Glascow as part of a delegation sent by Fortune 500 Company vice president Richard Cassini.