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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Excerpts: Iran gives Syria $ 1 billion credit line. Russia determined to develop ties with Lebanon. Russians fleeing Syria to Moscow via Lebanon. Philippines-China conflict re China Sea January 22, 2013

Excerpts: Iran gives Syria $ 1 billion credit line. Russia determined to
develop ties with Lebanon. Russians fleeing Syria to Moscow via Lebanon.
Philippines-China conflict re China Sea January 22, 2013

+++SOURCE: The Syria Report 21 Jan,’13:�Iranian Credit Line to go to Power

SUBJECT: Iran gives Syria $1 billion credit line

QUOTE: “around half…to fund electricity projects developed by Iranian

TEXT:Iran is providing a USD 1 billion credit line to Syria, although around
half of the amount will go to fund electricity projects developed by Iranian
companies, including the construction of a power plant in the coastal area.

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 22 Jan.’13:�Medvedev Meets Suleiman:Russia is
Determined to Develop its Ties with Lebanon�
SUBJECT: Russia determined to develop ties with Lebanon
· QUOTE:�Russian P.M.:’Russia will help the Lebanese people develop their
state and it in turn will develop its ties with Lebanon’ “

FULL TEXT:Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hoped on Tuesday[22 Jan]
that President Michel Suleiman would help bolster ties among the Lebanese
people and develop the state.

He said: “Russia will help the Lebanese people develop their state and it in
turn will develop its ties with Lebanon.�

He made his remarks after holding talks in Moscow with Suleiman, who is in
Russia where he received on Monday an award by the International Foundation
for Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations.

“Russia is determined to advance its relationship with Lebanon,� added

For his part, Suleiman voiced Lebanon's keenness to develop its ties with

He is scheduled to hold talks on Wednesday with his Russia counterpart
Vladimir Putin.

As Safir newspaper reported on Monday that the meetings will focus on the
situation in the region and mainly Syria. They are also expected to deal
with the conditions of Christians in the Middle East, including Lebanon and

The Central News Agency said earlier this month that the president's trip to
Moscow will be an opportunity to discuss Russian military assistance to
Lebanon, including promises to provide Lebanon with MiG airplanes

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 22 Jan.’13:��Russians Fleeing Syria War Cross
into Lebanon to Travel to Moscow�, Agence France Presse, Associated Press
SUBJECT: Russians fleeing Syria to Moscow via Lebanon

QUOTE: “It[escaping Russians] will be an ongoing operation�

FULL TEXT:Fourاbuses carrying Russian citizens escaping the Syrian civil war
crossed the Masnaa border post on Tuesday[22 Jan] to travel to Moscow via
Beirut airport.

A Russian embassy official traveling with the group said about 80 people,
mostly women and children, are on the buses.

Several men also have been seen in the first group of Russian citizens being
evacuated from Syria.

Russia sent two planes to Beirut that will take the group home later.

A Russian diplomat told Agence France Presse earlier Tuesday[22 Jan] that up
to 150 Russians are preparing to flee the bloodshed in Syria over the next
two days on board the two planes.

The diplomat insisted that the airlift was not the start of an operation to
evacuate Russian nationals from Syria.

"There are thousands of Russian citizens in Syria. The issue is that the
Russian airline is no longer flying to Damascus, so we are helping some 100,
maximum 150 people to leave Syria via Beirut, which is very close," the
diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.

"We are simply helping people who have gone to the Russian consulate in
Damascus requesting assistance."

Though the Russian consulate in Damascus is open, the road linking the
international airport to the capital has fallen prey to violence in recent
weeks as rebels seek to cut off the regime's main link to the outside world.

The diplomat downplayed earlier reports that Moscow was evacuating its
citizens from Syria.

"This is not an evacuation. There is no pressure at all on Russians in Syria
to leave the country, because there are many areas in Damascus which are
completely safe and free from violence or any clashes," the diplomat said.

He, however, said that the planes scheduled to leave on Tuesday[22 Jan] and
Wednesday[223 Jan.] would not be the last to help Russians flee the
strife-torn country.

"It will be an ongoing operation. Whenever enough people request assistance
at the consulate in Damascus, we will organize for new planes," the diplomat

Moscow, a staunch ally of Damascus, has been steadfast in its support of
President Bashar Assad's regime since the conflict erupted in March 2011

Agence France Presse – Associated Press

+++SOURCE: Naharnet 22 Jan.’13:�Philippines Taking South China Sea Fight to
Tribunal�, By Agence France Presse, Associated Press
SUBJECT: Philippines –China conflict re China Sea QUOTE:�Manila is seeking
international arbitration to declare Beeijing’s motives in the potentially
oil-rich waters‘illegal and invalid’ “
FULL TEXT:The Philippines took a legal step against China's claims to
virtually the entire South China Sea on Tuesday[22 Jan.], formally notifying
the Asian superpower that Manila is seeking international arbitration to
declare Beijing's moves in the potentially oil-rich waters "illegal and

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said at a news conference that his
department summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing and handed her a note
notifying the Chinese government that the Philippine government is bringing
both countries' conflicting claims to an international tribunal.

The move is likely to bring an angry response from China, the Philippines'
third-largest trading partner.

Several countries claim parts of the South China Sea, and China claims
virtually all of it. It has confronted Philippine ships in a standoff over
the Scarborough Shoal, which both countries claim. The Philippines withdrew
ships from the shoal last June and has since protested China's buildup.

There are fears that territorial conflicts in the region, including a
dispute between Japan and China in the East China Sea, could spark Asia's
next major armed conflict.

The Philippines hopes that arbitration through an arbitral tribunal
operating under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
would lead to a decision that would direct China to respect the Philippines'
claims. But even if a tribunal ruled against China, Beijing could choose to
simply ignore the ruling.

Del Rosario said that the Philippines made the move after previous
diplomatic efforts to resolve the territorial rifts failed.

"The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues
for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime disputes with China,"
del Rosario said. He added the Philippine government hopes that the legal
step it has taken "shall bring this dispute to a durable solution."

"We are all for improving our economic relations with China but it should
not be at the expense of surrendering our national sovereignty," he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing did not immediately comment, asking
that questions be submitted by fax.

In the note handed by Filipino diplomats to the Chinese ambassador, the
Philippines listed several aggressive moves it alleged were launched by
China in recent years to fortify its territorial claims, including the
occupation of South China Sea islands and the enactment of a Chinese law
that would allow Chinese patrol vessels to block and board foreign ships
passing through vast stretches of waters that Beijing claims.

Del Rosario said the Philippines' move was made independently of its ally
the United States, which has called for a peaceful resolution of the claims
and a guarantee that freedom of navigation will not be hindered.

Other countries clashing with China over South China Sea territory,
including Vietnam, could benefit from the Philippine action without risking
possible Chinese retaliatory steps

Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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