Russia 090818 Basic Political Developments

Medvedev and Peres to meet on Middle East tensions

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Medvedev and Peres to meet on Middle East tensions

Published: August 18, 2009, 09:33

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is holding talks on the stalled Middle East peace talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

The meeting will also cover Iran’s nuclear program and will focus on plans for Moscow to host an international Middle East peace conference.

"The situation in the Middle East, which raises serious concern in Russia, will be at the centre of attention in the meeting," the Kremlin said ahead of the meeting in Sochi.

Russia is helping Iran build its first nuclear power station while Israel and the United States fear Tehran secretly intends to build atomic weapons.

Russian, Israeli presidents to discuss Mideast in Sochi
MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian and Israeli presidents will meet in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Tuesday to discuss bilateral ties and the situation in the Middle East, a Kremlin source said.

The meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Shimon Peres, who will be visiting Russia for the first time since he assumed office in July 2007, will be informal, the official told RIA Novosti.

"The talks with the Israeli president will be centered on the situation in the Middle East, which is of serious concern to Russia," he said.

The discussions will focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and preparations for an international conference on the Middle East due to be held in Moscow by the end of 2009.

Russia is involved in the Mideast peace process as a member of the Quartet of mediators, along with the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union.

The sides will also discuss the development of bilateral relations, including cooperation in advanced technology, and the prospects for adopting new agreements on investment protection.

Russia, Israel set to discuss Mideast peace, Iran

(AP) – 32 minutes ago

MOSCOW — Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev is set to host Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres for talks expected to focus on the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear standoff.

Russia aspires to host an international conference to discuss the Middle East peace process, and Medvedev and Peres are expected to discuss the issue during Tuesday's talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Israel also wants Russia, which has close ties with Iran, to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran, whose president has expressed hatred of Israel, maintains its nuclear programs are only designed to provide electricity.

Israel, the United States and other nations fear the effort is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.

Dmitry Medvedev suggests again establishment of Caspian Economic Cooperation Organization

[ 18 Aug 2009 11:30 ]
Baku. Viktoria Dementieva – APA. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev suggested again establishment of the Caspian Economic Cooperation Organization. APA reports quoting ITAR-TASS that Russian President said this at the conference on August 17.

Medvedev noted that establishment of this organization would contribute to expanding the economic relations in the region. He mentioned that the issue was discussed at the intergovernmental economic conference in Astrakhan last autumn.

“Though no related decisions were passed, much interest was shown in the idea. I think this work should be continued,” he said.

The intergovernmental economic conference was held on the level of Deputy Prime Ministers in Astrakhan on October 3-4, 2008. Though establishment of the Caspian Economic Cooperation Organization was discussed, no recommendations were made to the heads of littoral states. Firstly Russia and Iran and then Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan supported the idea of establishing the organization. To bring the positions closer, Russia offered to hold a second conference in Astrakhan. Other littoral states have not supported the idea yet.

Prague decides to expel two Russian diplomats from Czech Republic, Moscow names it an unfriendly act


Russia considers the decision on expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Czech Republic an unfriendly act, which will not promote development of normal relations between the two countries, news agency ITAR-TASS reports, referring to a source in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today it became known, that the Czech Republic is to expel two Russian diplomats from the country as they have been suspected of espionage.
According to the online edition of Mlada fronta Dnes, the deputy military attache of the Russian embassy in Prague will leave the Czech Republic, another diplomat has been recommended not to return from holiday.
 The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not make comments on this information, Russian news agency notes. Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer also did not want to comment on the news, CTK says.
 In his turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the decision of the Czech Republic as "another provocation." He did not say whether Russia planned to take immediate reciprocal measures, RIA Novosti adds.
Czech Military Intelligence reportedly received information that the two diplomats were apparently working for the Russian secret services,  online paper iDnes writes. 
"The ministry does not comment on such sort of information, whether this has or has not taken place," Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Milan Rape told iDnes and CTK.
The Czech military secret service also did not wish to explain details to the press, CTK says. "Military Intelligence defends the interests of the Czech Republic in accordance with the law. Information on its operational activities are not published for natural reasons," news agency cites its spokesman Andrej Cirtek.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov who is in the Russian city of Astrakhan, together with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, named the Czech decision „a further provocation”, answering the question of journalists. The spokesman of the Russian embassy in Prague, Vladimir Fedorov, initially said that he "does not know about anything like that" and that "it is nonsense".
According to Mladá fronta Dnes about 200 people have been working for the Russian Embassy in Prague and the consulates in Brno and Karlovy Vary. Czech secret services assume that almost two thirds of them are spies, CTK notes. Many more Russians have been working in various associations or agencies. A dozen Russian journalists is officially accredited with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One can only guess how many of these people are working for Russian intelligence, iDnes points out.
In its last annual report for 2007, the Security Information Service (BIS) was drawing attention to the still increasing activity of Russian spies in the Czech Republic. According to the BIS, Russian secret services have been trying to influence public opinion and causing resistance against building of the US radar at Brdy. Russian spies were said as having interest of sensitive information on the Czech economy and contacts with politicians and state officials. "BIS concludes that the Russian spy activity in the Czech Republic has currently reached an extremely high level and intensity," says the report.
The BIS for the first time clearly has said that the Russian secret services in the Czech Republic have been carrying out the so-called active measures, not only watching the situation in the Czech Republic, but actively trying to influence it. The reality is even more serious, according to experts, iDnes adds. The findings of the BIS have been confirmed in a similar report of the military counterintelligence, CTK notes.
Italy to Cut Dependence on Russian Gas, Scajola Tells La Stampa

By Armorel Kenna

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Italy will reduce its dependence on Russian gas and won’t “ever” be dependent on one country for the fuel, Industry Minister Claudio Scajola told daily La Stampa in an interview.

Italy wants to import more gas from Algeria than from Russia and in 2010 will increase imports from Libya, Scajola said, according to the newspaper. Italy will also import 10 percent of the country’s gas consumption through a new terminal at Rovigo, Scajola said in the report.

The Italian government’s objective for 2020 is to have 25 percent of national energy consumption supplied by renewable energy, 25 percent from nuclear energy and the rest from “traditional sources,” Scajola told La Stampa.

Scajola said he’ll be in Washington at the end of September to sign an Italian, U.S. protocol for research and development in the nuclear industry, according to the daily. U.S. companies will have the opportunity to compete for the construction of as many as 10 plants that Italy aims to build in the next 20 years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Armorel Kenna in Milan at

Last Updated: August 18, 2009 01:58 EDT

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