C. Asian states downplay ‘Russia proposal’ to send troops to Syria

Updated 24 June 2017
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C. Asian states downplay ‘Russia proposal’ to send troops to Syria

BISHKEK: Ex-Soviet Central Asia countries Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Friday downplayed reported proposals from Moscow to send their troops to assist in peacemaking efforts in Syria.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdyrakmanov said the oil-rich Central Asian country was “not negotiating with anybody” on sending soldiers to Syria to police de-escalation zones.
Abdyrakmanov’s comments came after Vladimir Shamanov, head of Russia’s lower house of Parliament’s defense committee, told RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow had made “proposals to our colleagues from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan” on the subject.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also said Thursday: “There is even a suggestion from the Russians: Maybe Kyrgyz, the Kazakhs could send a certain number of forces.”
Kazakhstan said diplomats would “discuss this and other questions” on July 4-5 at upcoming Syria peace talks spearheaded by Russia in the country’s capital of Astana.
But he stressed that the UN Security Council would need to approve such a move.
“A crucially important condition for our country to consider the possibility of sending its peacekeepers to any conflict zone ... is a UN Security Council resolution and the necessary mandate,” he said.
The secretary of Kyrygzstan’s national security committee Temir Djumakadyrov said “the question had been raised” within the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led security bloc, but that there were “no negotiations” at present.
“We have received no official proposals from Russia concerning the transfer of our troops to Syria,” Djumakadyrov told AFP by telephone.
The country’s Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the question was not discussed when Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev met Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week.
Daesh and other militant groups have gained thousands of recruits from the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.


Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

Updated 14 min 7 sec ago
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Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

  • The rocket hit Burjeisa residential and operations headquarters west of Basra
  • Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile

BASRA: A rocket landed at the headquarters for several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding two Iraqi workers, police said.

The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of the city, they said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

A security source said Exxon was preparing to evacuate some 20 foreign staff immediately.

Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italian Eni SpA, oil officials said.

Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile that landed 100 meters from the section of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.

Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.

Exxon evacuated staff last month after the United States cited unspecified threats from Iran for a decision to take hundreds of diplomatic staff out of Iraq.

Exxon had begun returning staff to Iraq, however, before Wednesday’s incident.

(developing)