Russia To Prosecute Greenpeace For Alleged Piracy
Russia’s Putin says Syria violence could hit ex-Soviet bloc
Obama said its an insult to human reason to suggest — as Putin has said — that Syrian rebels rather than government forces conducted the Aug. 21 nerve-agent attack near Damascus that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people. The sniping has been mutual, with Putin this month accusing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of lying about the extent of al-Qaeda involvement with the rebels. Underlying the leaders comments are diverging views on UN-authorized military force and on Assads fate. Efforts to draft a Security Council resolution on elimination of Syria s toxic arsenal hit headwinds from Assads ally Russia, which opposes U.S., French and U.K. demands to include the threat of force if Assad violates his pledge to surrender his chemical weapons. There must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, Obama said in his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. And there must be consequences if they fail to do so. If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws. Kerry-Lavrov Hours later, Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, attempted to resolve differences that have slowed action on a resolution.
Russia says talks with U.S. on Syria chemical weapons resolution “not going smoothly”
Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy. “Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists,” he added. One Greenpeace activist told The Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace, which had limited contact with those on board, said they were all fine and that some made calls to friends and family. Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries. Late Tuesday, the activists were driven to the Investigative Committee’s headquarters in Murmansk for several hours of questioning, and after 2 a.m. local time Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday) Associated Press reporters saw them bused to a detention facility. Officials wouldn’t comment on the course of the investigation. Greenpeace said the activists hailed from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States. SHARE 20 CONNECT 14 TWEET 5 COMMENTEMAILMORE Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
allies on Syrian chemical weapons agreement In Geneva, Russia managed to get Washington to agree in principle to a resolution not drafted under the U.N. charter’s Chapter 7, which carries the prospect of possible military force if the resolution’s terms are violated. “Attempts of the Americans, actively supported by the English and French, to push the U.N. Security Council to craft a resolution that would contain a direct danger to Syria look absolutely illogical,” said Ryabkov on Tuesday. “There is no talk of adopting a U.N. Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter. There can be no talk of any automatic application of sanctions, let alone the use of force,” said the deputy foreign minister, reiterating his government’s stance that punitive measures can only become an option if and after the initial resolution’s terms are violated “by refusal to cooperate, failure to fulfill one’s obligations or if anyone, whoever it may be, uses chemical weapons” again. Assad warns of repercussions of U.S. strike, denies evidence of chemical attack Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s most valuable international ally, remains at odds with the U.S., France and Britain over which side in the bloody Syrian conflict was to blame for a mass-chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. Assad has said it was rebel fighters who used the poisonous gas that killed somewhere between 900 and 1,400 people that morning, and Russia insists that scenario is plausible, while Washington has been convinced for weeks that the attack could only have been carried out by Assad’s own military. A team of about 20 U.N.
“The problem of terrorism spilling from one country to another is absolutely real and could directly affect the interests of any one of our countries,” he said, citing the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi as an example. “We are now witnessing a terrible tragedy unfold in Kenya. The militants came from another country, as far as we can judge, and are committing horrendous, bloody crimes,” Putin said at a CSTO summit in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi. His words appeared to be a warning about violence spreading from both Syria and Afghanistan, which shares a long border with CSTO member Tajikistan in Central Asia. BORDER ASSISTANCE Reiterating concerns violence could spread to former Soviet Central Asia and Russia after the pullout of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, he said CSTO nations agreed to draft a plan to protect the border. “We will provide additional collective assistance to Tajikistan to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan state border,” Putin said. He gave no details. Russian border guards used to patrol the Tajik frontier with Afghanistan but left in 2005. The CSTO security alliance also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus. Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan all have mostly Muslim populations. Central Asian states Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, neither members of CSTO, also have frontiers with Afghanistan. Russian officials have expressed concern that Russian-born militants fighting in Syria could return to Russia’s North Caucasus and join an insurgency that claims lives almost daily. Russia has been one of Syria’s strongest backers in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people since it began in March 2011, delivering arms to Assad’s forces and joining China in blocking Western-backed initiatives in the U.N. Security Council. Russia, which has echoed Assad’s contention that he is fighting al Qaeda-inspired Islamists rather than a popular revolt, has warned the West that military intervention in Syria would play into the hands of the militants.