Kazakhstan Did Not Give Consent for the Stationing of Foreign Military Forces

Kazakhstan did not give consent

for the stationing of foreign military facilities in the event of war in Iran

ASTANA, April 4. Astana did not consent to grant the territory of Kazakhstan for foreign military facilities in the event of a military operation against Iran. According to "News of Kazakhstan" , stated this on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kazakhstan Altai Abibullaev.
"Any information about alleged consent of Kazakhstan for the provision of its territory to foreign military facilities in the event of military action against Iran is not true" – he said.
The diplomat stressed that the "irresponsible statements and insinuations in the information field of the possible use of the territory and airspace of Kazakhstan’s foreign states for military purposes against third countries are not baseless."
"As a responsible actor in international relations and a leader in the field of nuclear disarmament, Kazakhstan has consistently supported and will act exclusively for peaceful and diplomatic settlement of the situation surrounding Iran’s nuclear program," – he said.

Sergei Lavrov On Major Damage Control Mission from the Caucasus To the Stans

Wuthering Heights


Victor Yaduha

News Agency "Rosbalt"

Tour Sergei Lavrov on the Caucasus and Central Asia against the backdrop of dangerous events. Their focus – Azerbaijan, which Russia is trying to convince not to build the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, not to participate in the war against Iran and not to attack Karabakh.

Tour of the Foreign Minister from 2 to 6 April includes Yerevan, Baku, Bishkek and Astana.Announced that Yerevan and Baku Sergey Lavrov to discuss the Karabakh issue and the legal status of the Caspian Sea, and in Bishkek – Kyrgyzstan issue of participation in the EurAsEC, SCO and CSTO. Tour will end on April 6 in Astana at the CSTO summit. They will discuss the fundamental positions of Member States on global and regional issues and the Allied solidarity in the face of external threats. Also on the agenda of the forum in Astana, included questions about the interaction between the permanent representatives of CSTO member-states to international organizations and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the CSTO and the operations department of UN peacekeeping.

Formally, the visits to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan are confined to the twentieth anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with these countries. However, you can clearly see that the route runs along the transit routes of Asian hydrocarbons to the West bypassing Russia. It starts from the Caucasus, where Moscow is considered to be low, and ends in Central Asia, where Russia can still count on the decreasing attention to their needs – poorly understood and not clearly articulated.

The first item was the visit of Sergey Lavrov Yerevan. The status of Armenian as the only ally of Russia in the Caucasus, its complete blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, the critical dependence on Russia, the presence of a single region of the Russian military base and good relations between Armenia and Iran – all this allows the head of Russian diplomacy in Yerevan to feel confident. No wonder that there Lavrov has once again declared the inadmissibility of the Transcaspian gas pipeline construction, and accused the EU of trying to split the community of the littoral countries. However, the unity between them has never been.

Recall that to this day the gas from Central Asia to the West comes solely through the territory of Russia. The project is the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TAG) involves transfer of Turkmen gas under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and its transit through Georgia to Turkey and the EU. Great expectations for this project holds, and Ukraine, who are at risk of losing resources will soon impact on transit "Gazprom". Russia and Iran are opposed to the pipeline and do not want to let outside forces to the Caspian states. Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, on the contrary, interested in the pipe, and insist on a section of the Caspian Sea with the formation of a neutral water, which can enter anyone. Kazakhstan, despite the membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Customs Union has not announced his position.

September 12 last year, EU Council of Ministers without the agreement with Russia, the European Commission has approved the mandate for the right to negotiate with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan on the pipeline. Statement to that effect by the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was made in a crude and offensive to Moscow form. April 2 before the visit of Sergey Lavrov, in fact, Azerbaijan has officially supported the construction of the TAG. "Trans-Caspian gas pipeline – a major project, and Azerbaijan is interested in its realization", – said Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev. According to him, this project will enable Azerbaijan to transform itself from a manufacturing country in the gas transit country. Turkmenistan is also continuing negotiations with the EU’s Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, demonstrating the confidence that it will be built.

Moreover, there is increasing evidence that Azerbaijan is ready to provide the United States and Israel, a springboard for attacks on Iran in exchange for advanced weapons systems and, possibly, on the accession of the northern lands of Iran in his section. Last Wednesday, an article about it was published in the electronic version of the Foreign Policy – one of the two most influential foreign policy journal in Washington. Citing unnamed senior officials of the Obama administration and U.S. intelligence officers, the author wrote that "according to the conclusions of the United States, Israel has recently been granted access to air bases near the northern border of Iran." The State Department said it did not have any information on this subject, which can be interpreted in different ways.

High-ranking opponents strike on Iran, including Sergei Lavrov, said that local, this war will not be, but rarely explain why. Possible participation of Azerbaijan helps to answer this question. If Baku under the guise of the Iranian campaign decides to use Israeli weapons for the attack on Karabakh – expect a lightning recognition of Karabakh by Armenia and to mobilize its troops to defend the breakaway republic. Since Armenia is a CSTO member, it is likely that Russia will come to her aid, cut a corridor through Georgia to its base in Gyumri (talk about it openly in Moscow and Tbilisi). In this situation, on the side of Azerbaijan, Georgia and is guaranteed to perform, it is unclear in what form – Turkey. Thus, a great war involving the whole of the Caucasus and Russia in the event of an attack on Iran is very likely.

All this makes Baku the focus of global tensions and the main point in the tour, Sergei Lavrov. It is hardly by accident the day before his visit – and on the same day – the capital of Azerbaijan arrived U.S. Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, as well as Foreign Minister of Lithuania and Finland. In addition, in these days of visiting Baku Mykola Azarov – Prime Minister of Ukraine, of whose interest in the TAG discussed above.

At the time of this writing, in open sources, there was no evidence that Lavrov dissuade Azerbaijan from participating in the US-Israeli military operation. However, indirect steps in this direction the Minister has made – urged to speed up negotiations on the Karabakh declared inadmissible where "the Libyan scenario" and again offered the U.S. use the Gabala radar station in conjunction with the rental of which Baku has recently demanded from Moscow as much as $ 300 million a year. So far as can be seen around the object is bargaining.

Problems Sergey Lavrov visits to Bishkek and Astana on this background fade somewhat, but they are also very important. First of all, it is the desire to interrupt a sequence of foreign policy failures of the Kremlin in Central Asia and stop the decline of Russian influence in the south of the former Soviet Union.

After threats of a new President of Kyrgyzstan to withdraw Russian military facilities and investment contracts to transfer to third countries, it became clear that Atambaev – no more pro-Russian leader than his disgraced predecessor. The Kyrgyz government has included in the list of priorities of the country’s accession to the transport corridor TRACECA (Trans competitor), and softens his rhetoric about the withdrawal of U.S. air base in 2014. This and many other questions the decision of Kyrgyzstan in Moscow integration associations with the provision of economic benefits.

Kazakhstan, as noted above, could not decide in matters of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and the status of the Caspian Sea. In addition, the long overdue reform of the decision of the CSTO. Today, the principle of full consensus of all members of the organization interferes to help each of them in case of external threat. Belarus and Russia insist on the principle of simple majority, but by the fact that the same Kazakhstan agree.

Russia’s policy in the region must change, because the failure in all areas is becoming more and more, says the head of the Division of Central Asia and Kazakhstan in the CIS Institute Starn Andrei Grozin. According to him, in Medvedev’s four, the Russian influence is particularly strong subsided. But how it actually changed the policy?

Of course, a memorable performance of Dmitri Medvedev to the Russian ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry, where he urged the diplomats to work closely with the West and to think less about the CIS, symbolized by a rollback of patriotic rhetoric to the rhetoric of Mr. Putin pre-crisis era of Gorbachev. But does this mean that under Medvedev has changed the very essence of the Kremlin’s foreign policy? Does this mean that the return of Vladimir Putin, it will cease to be reactive and oligarchical? And that Moscow finally appears a clear understanding of their long-term interests?

Uzbekistan Blocks Gas Relief for Tajikistan from Turkmenistan

The Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev "transit of Turkmen gas through Uzbekistan is not possible"

Ferghana

Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Shavkat Mirziyoyev

April 4 at the website of the Information Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan "Jahon" there was a letter to Prime Minister Shaukat Mirziyoyev this country the Prime Minister of Tajikistan Akil Akilov. Thus, official Tashkent responded to repeated sharp statements of Dushanbe .

Referring to the recent high-profile issues of Uzbek-Tajik supply of electricity, gas and rail issues, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan said that his country’s position "is absolutely justified, fully compliant with international law, and any claims of the Tajik parties do not have a baseless. "

Here is the text of the letter in full.

"Letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Akilov AG

Dear Aqeel Gaybullaevich,

Having carefully reviewed the contents of your appeal on March 31, 2012 to announce that it raised questions repeatedly given detailed answers and explanations letters № 06/15-2695 on November 2, 2009, № 05/15-845 on July 25, 2011, № 12/37510 on December 15, 2011 № 02/15-217, and from March 30, 2012.

The essence and the content of the following.

First. Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the so-called "United Energy System of Central Asia" due to the fact that, first, it was created during the Soviet period as part of a unified energy system of the USSR and the post-Soviet era has shown its incapacity due to lack of effective mechanisms for its proper management, leading to the threat of man-made disasters, as well as in connection with regular siphoning off electricity from neighboring countries of Tajikistan. Secondly, Uzbekistan made the decision after Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, which previously has consistently declared its withdrawal from the "United Energy System of Central Asia."

Second. Regarding the railway should be emphasized that the years of independence Uzbekistan has consistently provided, and continues to provide its network of railways uninterrupted transit of Tajik goods. Forced to stop for a short transit time of goods at the railroad-Galaba Amuzang was associated with well-known to you the tragic events that took place in December 2011

It should also be borne in mind that as a result of the complete deterioration of the railway, which was built more than 50 years ago, and frequently repeated failures do not allow the use of its capacity by more than 10 percent and ensure further safe operation.

Nevertheless, despite these circumstances, all goods appointment to Khatlon Tajikistan railway station easily transferred to other parts of the railway in Tajikistan through an interstate butt point Kudukli and delays in moving cars in this area are not available.

Third. I would also like to inform that the growth rate is a forced measure and the response to the railway administration in Uzbekistan, as the railway administration Tajikistan SUE "Rohee groan Tojikiston" for a short time increased the rates at times, namely in 2011, 3 times in 2012 – 40 per cent. In this same period of the «Uzbekistan Railways", respectively, the increase was only 30 and 32 per cent.

It should be noted that the tariff increase is also influenced by the repeated increase in the price of rolling stock, spare parts, accessories and lubricants, as well as operating costs.

Fourth. Regarding the supply of natural gas: "Uztransgaz" fully met its prescribed for the current year guaranteed supply contract of 45 million cubic meters natural gas to the JSC "Tajiktransgas" and the matter is the subject of interaction between business entities, as is customary in international practice.

Tajik side should be well aware that, in connection with the operation of the Turkmen and Uzbek gas pipeline system separately from each other, the transit of Turkmen gas through Uzbekistan is not possible.

Fifth. During the acute phase of the civil war in Tajikistan in 1992-1996. Uzbek law enforcement agencies were forced to mining (though in the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan) on some high areas of the state border height of not less than 3.5 km, where there was danger of infiltration of militants, as well as the uncontrolled flow of narcotics into Uzbekistan, and normal communication is made through a coordinated border areas transition, and it does not cause any complaints from both sides.

Sixth. The visa regime between the Republic of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan established in 2000 on the basis of a signed intergovernmental agreement on mutual trips of citizens, which corresponds to the universally recognized norms of international law.

The foregoing and the facts confirm once again that the matters referred to in your appeal, the position of the Government and relevant economic structures of Uzbekistan is absolutely justified, fully compliant with international law, and any claims of the Tajik parties are baseless.

Sincerely,

Prime minister

Republic of Uzbekistan Sh Mirziyoyev. "

The international news agency "Fergana"

Dushanbe accused Tashkent of Destabilization ofTajikistan

Dushanbe accused Tashkent of provoking social revolt in Tajikistan

Ferghana

Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in Russia, issued a sharp statement "about the situation in the relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan." The statement accuses the Republic of Uzbekistan in Dushanbe of deliberately provoking the growth of social discontent in Tajikistan: all the actions being taken by Tashkent, may lead to a humanitarian catastrophe in the neighboring country and are aimed at destabilizing the socio-political environment. The Embassy reminds transport blockade , the saved minefields on the borders between countries, says the termination of gas supply , unfounded claims of ownership of the Uzbek Tajik number of objects to create obstacles for electricity from Turkmenistan and so on.

"Fergana" leads the embassy statement in full.

"On the situation in the relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Despite the enormous efforts of the Republic of Tajikistan to develop and strengthen bilateral cooperation with Uzbekistan, and the solution of topical problems in international relations affecting the interests, hopes and aspirations of the brotherly peoples of both countries, the Uzbek government continues a policy of confrontation and the use of economic, transport and communication, and other leverage, in order to force management to adopt Tajikistan profitable solutions to them.

Since 2010, Uzbekistan is systematically implementing transport blockade of the southern and central regions of the Republic of Tajikistan through a deliberate delay on the Uzbek railway station wagon with a national economic goods in Tajikistan.

Thus, from November 17, 2011 to the present time the Uzbek side, referring to the destruction of the railway bridge on the stretch "Galaba Amuzang," allegedly because of "terrorist act", blocked the transit of trains with cargoes destined for the needs of the population of the southern regions of Tajikistan, thereby at the height of the cold winter and the beginning of planting season, leaving the inhabitants of these areas without the consumer goods, petroleum products, including hospitals, schools and other social facilities. At the same time, despite numerous requests and suggestions of the Tajik side for assistance in restoring this section of road that connects Tajikistan with other CIS countries, Uzbekistan has not begun recovery efforts. Moreover, reliable data is currently held by the Uzbek side of the dismantling of the railway line. It should be noted that previously the Uzbek side is motivated by the closure of this stretch of road erosion of the railway bridge, but it is for him now removed into the territory of Uzbekistan dismantled railway sleepers and rails of this road section.

It should be noted that this railway line is of vital importance for socio-economic support of the Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Republic of Tajikistan, where about three million people. Transport isolation of these regions leads to the absence of the possibility of timely delivery to the population of various cargoes, including international humanitarian aid, intended for low-income groups.

It should be noted that the Uzbek side has repeatedly violated its obligations, in particular, to supply natural gas to Tajikistan. For example, January 5, 2012 Tajikistan signed an agreement on the phased delivery of 200 million cubic meters of Uzbek gas in 2012. However, after two months of the Uzbek side said that from April 1 this year totally cuts off gas supplies to Tajikistan, referring to the contrived reason to increase their supplies to the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, thus exacerbating the already tense situation with the provision of industrial facilities and natural gas to Tajikistan.

In addition, the Uzbek side under false pretenses for several years now bans the transit of Turkmen electricity through its territory to Tajikistan, which contradicts the basic principles of international law and previously signed agreements and Uzbekistan adopted in this regard, the obligations of a reliable supply and transit of energy and resource management region.

Such actions by the Uzbek authorities, against the backdrop of the continuing acute shortage of electricity, dooming the population to more severe living conditions. As a consequence of the persistent shortage of energy annually in the autumn-winter period, the Tajik authorities have introduced strict limit on energy consumption throughout the country. At the same time have been de-energized the building of schools, hospitals and other social facilities, there have been cases of deaths. Purpose of such actions is the inspiration of the Uzbek authorities on this basis foci of social tension and dissatisfaction with the country’s population growth against the leadership of Tajikistan.

A special place in the Tajik-Uzbek relations has plans to build on the inland waters of Tajikistan’s hydropower projects, including the completion of Rogun. Over the past few years, the Uzbek side, using the flimsy and unsubstantiated pretexts, tries to prevent the development of this vitally important sector of the economy of Tajikistan. With that, he of Uzbekistan in violation of international law, without any consultation with the neighboring countries of the Aral Sea basin, built on its territory dozens of reservoirs, which allow him to concentrate large amounts of runoff of the Amu-Darya and Syr Darya. thus exacerbating the already dire situation of the Aral Sea. Despite the incompleteness of the process of international expertise of the project completion Rogun, the Uzbek side to continue its targeted campaign aimed at forcing the situation around is important for Tajikistan object. The ultimate goal of these steps, Uzbekistan is an attempt to mislead the world public and non-completion of this facility.

Serious problems, under the pretext of protecting the environment, creating the Uzbek authorities, and in a strategically important object of the Tajik economy – an aluminum smelter TALCO, accompanied by customized information campaign and a series of protests inspired by the Uzbek population in border areas. Moreover, the convening international forums on environmental issues in the region, to discuss cross-border problems, allegedly associated with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan deliberately ignores the participation of competent representatives of Tajikistan. At the same time in Uzbekistan itself, in the immediate vicinity of Tajikistan, there are a number of environmentally hazardous industries (Bekabad and Almalyk metallurgical combine, and virtually the entire industrial zone of Fergana). At the same time the Tajik side to a proposal for a joint study of the environmental situation in the affected area Talco, and industrial production facilities in Uzbekistan, the Uzbek side is deliberately refusing to participate in these events.

Unresolved for many years and remain questions of delimitation and demarcation of the Tajik-Uzbek border on its remaining contentious areas, in accordance with Article 4 of the Treaty between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on the "State border". Here the Uzbek side, contrary to all international norms and sufficient grounds ultimatum requires the transfer of its ownership of the site boundary "Farkhad dam" to the territory, which means nothing more than an attempt to annex the territory of the sovereign state of Tajikistan.

Another serious problem of international relations continues to be a question of mine of 54 sections of the joint border, which to date remain fixed mine by the Uzbek side, presenting a real threat to life and health of citizens of both states. These minefields were laid in 1999 without notifying the Tajik side, and incomplete accounting of joint delimitation-demarcation work. Moreover, these minefields are not immune, is not marked and are a major threat to life and health of border residents of both states. During this period, these minefields Only citizens of Tajikistan, killing over 100 civilians, 93 persons were seriously injured, more than half of them children. These actions contradict the Uzbek side for centuries formed for the spirit of traditional friendship and good neighborly relations between our peoples, as well as the generally accepted norms of international humanitarian law and the majority of international acts.

In violation of a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on checkpoints across the state border, 14 of the 16 crossing points provided by Uzbekistan has unilaterally been closed for the passage of the citizens, vehicles, goods and cargo. In addition, the remaining restrictions on the transition of two crossing points. This has led to considerable difficulties in the travel of citizens of border areas of both states, the movement of national economic goods across the border and in the first place, to ensure Tajik enclaves of medicines and food essentials.

In addition, Uzbekistan has unilaterally increases the annual fee rate for transit passenger train formation of the Tajik Railway. In 2012 the increase was 60%. It should be noted that this is the fourth increase in the coefficient of indexation by the Uzbek authorities that have already held to higher prices by 32% of imported goods to Tajikistan and the negative impact on the social situation in the country.

Continuous transport blockade of the southern and central regions of the Republic of Tajikistan, the preservation of minefields along the Tajik-Uzbek border, unsubstantiated claims to ownership of a number of facilities in Tajikistan (areas of power lines, railroad base) and parts of its borders, creating obstacles for the transit of gas and electricity across the territory of Uzbekistan is contrary to the efforts of Organization of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and is a disregard for the norms of modern international practice that rejects the existence of barriers, blockades, and all sorts of constraints in the development of bilateral relations, the imposition of a sovereign state decisions, taking into account the interests of only one hand.

These unilateral actions of the Uzbek authorities, in fact, serve as proof of permanent and undeclared economic blockade of Tajikistan aimed at destabilizing the socio-political situation in the republic. Save the current situation will lead to further deterioration of the population of Tajikistan, threatening a humanitarian catastrophe in the country. "

The international news agency "Fergana"

Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Do To Afghanistan What They Did To Mohmand and Swat

Pak Taliban introduces moral policing in parts of Afghanistan

Press Trust Of India
Islamabad

The Pakistani Taliban have introduced "moral policing" in parts of northeastern Afghanistan in a bid to enforce their puritanical version of Islam, Afghan police officials have said.
Key leaders of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan – including its chieftains Maulana Fazlullah from

 

Swat, Maulvi Faqir of Bajaur Agency and Abdul Wali of Mohmand Agency – and dozens of their fighters fled military operations in Pakistan and sought sanctuary in the Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar.

They mounted sporadic cross-border attacks on Pakistani troops in Chitral and Dir districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Now, they have introduced "moral policing" on the pattern of the Taliban-era "Department for the Preservation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" in Kamdesh district of Nuristan.

Armed vigilantes of the Pakistani Taliban roam the streets to stop what they believe are "un-Islamic" activities.

"Turbaned and bearded Pakistani Taliban fighters, clad in black clothes, punish local people for shaving or trimming beards, using mobile phones and even eating naswar," Afghan provincial police chief Ghulamullah Nuristani said over phone.

The vigilantes, according to Nuristani, are affiliated with a Pakistani Taliban faction led by Maulana Fazlullah, the infamous cleric who fled his stronghold in the Swat valley following a military operation in 2009.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Sirajuddin and the Afghan Taliban denied the police chief’s claim.

The Taliban’s shadow governor for Nuristan, Sheikh Dost Muhammad, dismissed Nuristani’s claim as "part of propaganda to undermine the Taliban’s growing popularity in the region".

"Only Afghan Taliban operate in the areas under our control," Dost Muhammad said over phone.

However, local journalists said people are routinely body-searched in Taliban-controlled areas.

"Afghan officials believe the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is involved," said Nimatullah Karyab, an Afghan journalist from Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province.

Before the toppling of their regime by US-led foreign forces in 2001, the Afghan Taliban had set up a department called Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkar or the Department for the Preservation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, as part of their Islamisation campaign.

The Nuristan police chief claimed scores of Pakistani families had also crossed over into Kamdesh district, where the writ of the Afghan government does not apply.

Afghan officials claimed Pakistani Taliban fighters were "harassing native Afghans" in Barg-e-Metal district and forcing them to vacate their homes for Pakistani families.

Nuristan and Kunar virtually fell to the Taliban following the pullout of US-led NATO forces from forward bases in the two provinces in 2009-10.

In a related development, Afghan forces yesterday seized a truckload of bomb-making material in Kunar which, they claimed, was coming from Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Russia Warns That Backing Syrian Rebellion Is Promoting Civil War

Russia warns against arming Syrian opposition

USA TODAY

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister warned other nations again Wednesday not to arm the Syrian opposition, saying it would only escalate hostilities.

 

Speaking on a trip to Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Syrian opposition wouldn’t be able to overwhelm government forces even if it was supplied with weapons from abroad. He warned that a foreign military intervention would lead to even more disastrous consequences for Syria, where President Basher Assay’s forces have violently cracked down on a yearlong uprising in which more than 9,000 people have died.

"Even if they arm the Syrian opposition to the teeth, it won’t be able to defeat the Syrian army," Lavrov said. "The carnage will go on for many years."

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two Sunni-ruled nations, have backed the idea of arming the opposition against Assad’s Shiite-ruled government, but the West remains opposed. Western nations moved instead to create a fund for the rebels at a meeting in Istanbul.

Russia, along with China, has twice shielded Assad from United Nations sanctions over his bloody crackdown on dissent. But Moscow also has strongly supported U.N. envoyKofi Annan‘s peace plan, which gives an April 10 deadline for Syrian troops to pull out of towns and cities.

Lavrov reaffirmed that Assad needs to take the first step to end bloodshed, but all international players need to back Annan’s proposals.

He criticized Sunday’s meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" in Istanbul, saying it sent signals to the opposition that would undermine Annan’s plan.

"All that would undermine efforts to end violence," he said. "They want to solve the Syrian problem with the opposition only, but it’s impossible to settle the situation like that. There must be a dialogue of all the parties involved."

Lavrov added that Moscow will host two separate delegations of Syrian rebels for talks in the next few days.

While Moscow has shown signs of increasing impatience with its old ally, criticizing Assad for being too slow at reforms, it also has criticized the West and Arab Gulf states for backing the opposition. It has strongly opposed U.N. sanctions against Assad, saying that the global body shouldn’t be turned into an instrument for regime change.

Russia has vowed to block any U.N. resolution that could pave the way for a replay of what happened in Libya, where NATO action helped oust longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Lavrov said NATO nations had abused a U.N. resolution that cleared the way for a military action in Libya, killing civilians and "leaving something that can’t be called a state in the end."

Frontier Corps. Disrupts Bugti Rearmament Attempt

Arms smuggling case: Apex court cancels Shahzain’s bail

The Express Tribune

The bench set aside the BHC order paving way for the arrest of Shahzain and his guards. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

QUETTA:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside a Balochistan High Court (BHC) order and cancelled a bail granted to a grandson of the slain Baloch chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti and his 27 security guards.

Shahzain Bugti – who is also the provincial chief of Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) – and his 27 armed guards were arrested on December 22, 2010 by paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) at the Buleli check post in Quetta for allegedly smuggling weapons.

Sources say a huge cache of weapons and ammunition, including 50 Kalashnikov assault rifles, anti-aircraft guns and 46,000 rounds, was recovered from the vehicles they were travelling in.

Later a BHC bench granted their applications for bail and ordered their release.

On Tuesday, an apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, took up the case and heard arguments from the prosecutor general and Shahzain’s attorney.

The bench set aside the BHC order paving way for the arrest of Shahzain and his guards. However, the bench did not make direct instructions for the arrest.

WN Kohli, the attorney for Shahzain, argued that his client was implicated in a fake case in order to bar him from leading a long march from Quetta to Dera Bugti for the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) belonging to the Bugti tribe.

In a counter argument, Prosecutor General Muhammad Wasey Tareen said that the security forces had intercepted Shahzain’s convoy after they were tipped off that the convoy was smuggling arms and ammunitions from Afghanistan to Quetta.

Published in The Express Tribune