Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended the embargo on the import of a number of foreign goods for one more year.
“The government addressed a letter to me, asking me to extend the measures that we took against the actions of some of our partners from several countries. Today, in accordance with this letter, I signed a decree on the extension of certain economic measures in order to ensure the safety of the Russian Federation,” TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying.
On August 1, 2014, the EU imposed sanctions against the Russian Federation over the events in Ukraine and the Crimea and later extending them.
According to TASS, Moscow was ‘forced to make a decision on counter sanctions’.
The fighting that erupted in Syriya in the year 2011 led many homeless and most than 2 millions have made Turkey their new home. But, Muhammed Faris, who was a national hero back then in Syria is now tagged as a refugee in Turkey.
Muhammed Faris worked in the Syrian Air Force as a colonel. He participated in the Interkosmos program and was selected to be a part of the Navigation team for his space shuttle to the Space Station in July 1987. Faris was also awarded the most coveted titles of ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and ‘Order of Linen’ for his stellar performance in his capacity as an astronaut.
Today, Muhammed Faris has fled Syria and survives as a refugee in Turkey.
Faris is one of these 2 million refugees. Although he lives a much more comfortable life compared to the other, less fortunate refugees, he says he hopes to return to his home country one day.
In the two years that he spent in Russia to train for his missions, Faris developed a deep liking towards Russians. However, he blames Vladimir Putin for the destruction of children’s homes and inhuman slaughter of civilians.
According to Faris, Bashar Assed, the Syrian dictator, was inspired by Putin when he responded to a peaceful uprising in Syria with violent force, turning the whole ordeal into a civil war.
Today, Muhammed Faris lectures in schools and conferences while his son runs a language school. Every time he interacts with the students, Faris always recounts that moment when he first saw the Earth from space. And for that reason, he urges his students to fight against wars and tyrants to save the blue Planet.
-by Saurabh Bodas
Saurabh is pursuing his engineering and is an intern at NewsGram.
World powers say they will back Libya’s new government in its bid to lift a U.N. arms embargo, a move that could help the government combat internal security threats and fight Islamic State.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced the decision following a multi-nation meeting chaired by the United States and Italy.
The United States and the international community “stand ready, to provide humanitarian, economic and security support to the new Libyan government,” Kerry said. But he said world powers are not talking about troops or “boots on the ground” in Libya.
The internationally recognized Government of National Accord is facing challenges from rival factions and Islamic State-affiliated militants who have established a base in the central city of Sirte and have used that base to launch attacks in neighboring Tunisia.
In a joint news conference Friday, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj described the situation in his country as “bad” in terms of the economy and security.
He urged world powers to provide additional training and equipment for Libyan forces, saying Libya’s neighbors would not be “spared” if terrorism grows inside the country.
“Libya is a keystone for access to the Sahel, the Maghreb, the Near East and the Mediterranean and Europe and to have Daesh have a foothold in Libya is bad for everybody,” he said.
Libya has been grappling to overcome the chaos that followed the 2011 ouster and killing of leader Moammar Gadhafi. World powers are hoping the Government of National Accord can unite the country.
Representatives from 19 other countries in the region joined the talks, along with the United Nations, African Union, EU and Arab League.
FILE – Armenian soldiers pose near a frontline in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, April 6, 2016. Image Source: VOA
Effort to help stabilize Nagorno-Karabakh
Another focal point was a multi-national effort to help stabilize Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan that was the scene of intense fighting in April.
The two countries accused each other of violating a cease-fire. The flare-up was partly fueled by a worsening economic situation in Azerbaijan because of the fall of oil prices.
Monday’s sessions are the first time the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met since the flare-up.
A senior State Department official said the United States wants both countries to re-commit to a 1994 cease-fire agreement and a negotiating process that will lead to a comprehensive settlement.
“We would like to see an outcome where the presidents agree to certain steps that can reduce tensions along the line of contact,” the official said Monday.
The official, who spoke before the talks, also said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe needed enhanced monitoring for violations in the disputed region. The U.S., Russia and France serve as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been working to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Ongoing concerns about Syria’s stability
The talks in Vienna follow Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he sought that government’s support in strengthening a ceasefire agreement between Syrian government forces and rebels before broader talks on Syria.
Tuesday, the 17-nation International Syria Support Group will convene in Vienna to discuss the stalled political talks, difficulties in maintaining the February cease-fire and uneven U.N. results in delivering humanitarian aid. U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has indicated he will await the results of the meeting before setting a date for the next round of proximity talks between the government and the opposition.
Kerry will also attend a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels and then will travel to Burma in a show of U.S. support for the country’s newly elected government.
In the following week, Kerry will join President Barack Obama in Vietnam. (Source: VOA)
London: A top Afghan militant commander has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin held an unpublicized meeting with Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the current Taliban chief, to discuss possible Russian support against the IS insurgents who in recent weeks have been advancing in Afghanistan, a media report said.
Putin is known to be concerned that the IS militants are gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, which borders the former Soviet satellite states of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
A Taliban commander told The Sunday Times that his group had been promised Russian arms and financial support only weeks before a resurgence in violence that has seen key districts in the southern province of Helmand fall under the Taliban control.
Putin is said to have met Mulla Mansour over dinner at a late night meeting on a military base in Tajikistan in September.
The Russian president was present in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, on September 14 and 15 to attend a regional counter-terrorism meeting, however, the Taliban denied reports that their representatives met Russian officials to discuss the common threat from the IS in Afghanistan.
In a statement, the Taliban said they were in contact with countries in the region but had not discussed support against the Islamic State.
“The Islamic Emirate has made and will continue to make contacts with many regional countries to bring an end to the American invasion of our country and we consider this our legitimate right,” it said, using its formal name.
“But we do not see a need for receiving aid from anyone concerning so-called Daesh and neither have we contacted nor talked with anyone about this issue,” it added.(IANS)