|Russia and the CIS News Digest
U.S.A. and Russia Willing To Cooperate Over Afghanistan
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Both the United States and Russia are stating their interest in cooperation to deal with the crisis in Afghanistan. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev yesterday said that Moscow is ready to cooperate with NATO to deal with Afghanistan, at a press conference following meetings with President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (see Asia digest). Today, Dmitri Rogozin, the Russian envoy to NATO, said on Echo Moskvy radio that cooperation is being re-established with NATO, and that, were NATO to be defeated in Afghanistan, this would threaten Russia.
The U.S. State Department yesterday said that Washington is "looking forward" to work with Russia on Afghanistan, the Press Trust of India reported. President Karimov said he supports President Obama's plans to solve the Afghanistan crisis, and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation. "We offer to solve the problem through the involvement of regional states," he said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said yesterday, "We certainly look forward to working with Russia on Afghanistan. It's in both countries' interest to try to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and bring about, you know, more economic development and security in the country."
"It was a very, very strong signal that this Administration sent to the region when Ambassador [Richard] Holbrooke was appointed to be the Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan. So I think that in itself shows you how serious the Administration is about trying to work on these issues. And working with Russia will be a key component of that," Wood said. Asked whether Moscow has conveyed to the Obama Administration its interest in cooperation on Afghanistan, specially the supply routes, Wood said, "We'll be having conversations with the Russians and have had conversations with the Russians at a number of levels, to talk about, you know, enhancing our cooperation in Afghanistan."
Central Asian Security at Issue in Russia-Uzbekistan Talks
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)A key topic of discussion between visiting Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent, was "security and stability in Central Asia, expanded interaction of both countries in neutralizing the most dangerous challenges, international terrorism and organized crime, and in coordinated actions in the fight against illegal drugs," Itar Tass quoted a Kremlin official. "As never before, we need to exchange views constantly, discuss very difficult questions which the international situation dictates now," Medvedev said. "I mean the global financial and economic crisis, which actually affects almost all countries in the world, I also refer to a very difficult international situation, security issues, which are traditionally very complicated in the Central Asian region and which we should also discuss and broaden cooperation in this sphere."
The Kremlin official told Itar Tass that "Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan plays a major role in promoting stability in Central Asia.... Other issues on the international agenda of the meeting include problems of the global financial crisis and cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan in the framework of the efforts of the international community to promote the settlement in Afghanistan and economic revival of that country."
They also discussed preparation for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which will be held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, this Summer, as well as the Community of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and other international alliances.
On Jan. 24, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the SCO will convene a conference on Afghanistan in late March.
Rogozin: 'Ice Is Thawing'
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)The "ice is thawing" between Russia and NATO, Dmitri Rogozin, the Russian envoy to NATO, said on Ekho Moskvy radio station today. "An informal meeting of the Russia-NATO council is a de facto resumption of work." On Jan. 26, the Russia-NATO council will meet for the first time since NATO suspended the discussions because of the South Ossetia conflict, in August 2008. Rogozin said that if the meeting works, there could be a foreign ministers' meeting in early Spring.
Rogozin said Russian intelligence has the view that as much as half of NATO shipments through Pakistan are being stolen or destroyed by the Taliban. This is of concern to Russia itself, he said. "I can responsibly say that in the case of NATO's defeat in Afghanistan, fundamentalists, inspired by this victory, will set their eyes on the North. First they will hit Tajikistan, then they will try to break into Uzbekistan.... If things turn out badly, in about 10 years, our boys will have to fight well-armed and well-organized Islamists somewhere in Kazakstan. We have been there and did not like it. But everything we can do to back the realization of the UN Security Council's resolution ... we need to do."
Siemens To Build Nuclear Consortium with Russia
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)The German company Siemens has indicated its intention to break its alliance with the French nuclear power firm Areva and inaugurate strategic cooperation with Russia's Atomenergoprom, according to today's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Siemens has a 34% stake in Areva NP, a consortium with the French state-owned Areva nuclear concern. Apparently, the French are also eager to terminate the relationship.
Siemens reportedly sees a future for nuclear energy again, in part due to the climate change issue, and plans to build a joint venture with Atomenergoprom in which Siemens will participate in the operational management.
Kazakstan and India Sign Uranium Supply Agreement
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)"Long-term cooperation in the supply of Kazakstan uranium for nuclear reactors will help in solving India's problem of power," said President Nursultan Nazarbayev, upon his arrival in New Delhi on Jan. 23 at a business meeting organized by industry chambers of both countries. "We have reached a new level of interaction. It should give us a new beginning of our mutual relationship," said Nazarbayev.
Nazarbayev was invited as the chief guest at India's Jan. 26 Republic Day parade in New Delhi. As part of the trip, India and Kazakstan signed five agreements, including cooperation in nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, and space research.
On Jan. 23, the two countries signed an agreement for cooperation between the state-run Nuclear Power Corp and uranium production company KazAtomProm. Kazakstan is among the world's top suppliers of uranium, after Australia and Canada. Kazakstan will be the fourth country after the United States, France, and Russia, with which India will have civil nuclear cooperation since the U.S. deal was signed during the George W. Bush Administration.
Soros Covers for Soros on Georgia-Russia War
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)Human Rights Watch released its report on the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war, which, according to today's New York Times, finds fault with both sides for indiscriminate use of force against civilians. However, the Times notes that much of the report "is devoted to a meticulous description of Ossetian rampages in ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia, in which houses were systematically looted, set ablaze and bulldozed, sometimes as their inhabitants watched." Criticism of Georgia is apparently limited to the Aug. 7 shelling of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali by Georgian forces, and the use of cluster bombs by the Georgians as well as by Russian forces. By focussing on the behavior of the Ossetians, the HRW report runs cover for George Soros's asset, President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose actions in ordering the shelling of Tskhinvali nearly triggered World War III. HRW is a Soros creature, getting much of its funding and personnel from the various Soros foundations.