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Russia stands by Georgia actions Monday, 1 September, 2008

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BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia stands by Georgia actions.

Welders repair a gas pipeline in Russia (archive image)

Russia supplies roughly a quarter of the EU’s natural gas

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said his decision to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent is irrevocable.

On the eve of a special EU summit on Georgia, he warned that Russia was ready to retaliate against any sanctions the EU might impose.

Germany and the UK have differed in tone over how the EU should proceed, with Berlin warning against escalation.

Moscow’s envoy to London said sanctions would hurt the EU more than Russia.

Ambassador Yuri Fedotov told the BBC that Russia did not want any further confrontation and was not seeking a new Cold War.

He was speaking after UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called in a newspaper article for a fundamental review of relations with Russia to prevent further “Russian aggression”. (more…)

Who risks more, Russia or West? Saturday, 30 August, 2008

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Press TV – Who risks more, Russia or West?.

The following is Press TV’s exclusive interview with Vladimir Sotnikov from the Centre for International Security in Moscow.

Press TV: Tbilisi has ended ties with Moscow. How does this move add to the tension that already exists between Russia and Georgia?

Sotnikov: I would like to say that this is wholly Georgia’s decision to stop the diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and Georgia and Georgia is to blame. I think for Georgians it will be bad to do during this diplomatic crisis which followed after the short war between Russia and Georgia and it would be better to keep up the diplomatic relations and to conduct negotiations. As the ordinary Georgians say it’s better to have a close friend which is your neighbor than to have a close friend which is an outside power.

Press TV: There is a military build up in the Black Sea and Russia is also seeking military bases in South Ossetia. What are the West and Russia both demanding from these moves?

Sotnikov:According to the situation which is now in the Black Sea, we have several NATO warships and Russian Black Sea fleets now is in position. I think that the NATO seeks a situation where it can control the movements of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea and Russia would like to prevent the possible breaking up of this truce by Georgia and the possible situation when Georgians could again be in a state of war with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. (more…)

Russia: US still looking for WMDs in Iraq? Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Russia: US still looking for WMDs in Iraq?.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin

Russia has slammed what it calls the UN Security Council’s hypocritical stance on the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin has accused the world body of adopting a double standard approach in dealing with the issue.

He said members of the Council are ignorant about the essence of the Caucasus conflict, Russia Today reported on Friday.

The remarks were made after a Thursday’s meeting of the Security Council during which the Western powers criticized Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“Russia violated the security zone patrolled by UN peacekeeping forces deployed by the UN Security Council,” said Alejandro Daniel Wolff, US Representative to the UN. “In Abkhazia, Russia is violating not only the territorial integrity of Georgia, but also the integrity of this Council.” (more…)

Georgia war for Obama, McCain Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Georgia war for Obama, McCain.

Putin: US created the conflict to benefit the candidates

John McCain and Barack Obama are making capital from the South Ossetia standoff which the US engineered for the competing candidates’ sake.

In a CNN interview, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States of having opened the conflict in the region to help invigorate the US presidential race with a specific view to boost the chances of Sen. John McCain for the White House.
“The fact is that US citizens were indeed in the area in conflict during the hostilities…following direct orders from their leaders,” he added.
Putin’s stance is shared by the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin as well as several others of the Russian officials.
“It is hard to imagine that (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili embarked on this risky venture without some sort of approval from the side of the United States,” he told Russia’s NTV television earlier in the month.
Wednesday in an interview with the Press TV, Russian Duma Deputy Sergei Markov also accused the Bush administration of serving McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney’s interests while claiming that the two US officials had started the Iraq war ‘without any real cause’.
He alleged that McCain was baiting Russia through criticism “because he is a crazy militant and wants war. It is ‘McCain paranoia”.
Putin’s revelations remarks, however, were attacked by the State Department deputy spokesman, Robert Wood and White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino who described the former Russian president’s comments as “patently false.” And though that is the official rejoinder, the history of this administration makes clear it has no compunction of lying through its teeth in the face of clear evidence.

Duma deputy warns of ‘McCain paranoia’ Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Duma deputy warns of ‘McCain paranoia’.

By Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran

The following is an exclusive Press TV interview with Russian Duma Deputy Sergei Markov on Russia’s recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states:

Q: I noticed across the wires that the United States says Russia’s recognition is unacceptable.

A: I think now the United States’ administration work not for the United Stats’ interests but for the interest of Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Dick Cheney, who without any real cause started the war in Iraq and is ready to start a war with Iran. They want to create an impression of the cold war with Russia. From our point of view South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which have never in their entire history been a part of independent Georgia, have more right to independence than Kosovo. The United States imposed independence of Kosovo on Serbia. It was not a matter of vote. (more…)

Iran: Israel too vulnerable for conflict Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

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Press TV – Iran: Israel too vulnerable for conflict.

Various types of Iranian Shahab and Zelzal missiles mounted on mobile launchers

The top IRGC commander says Iran does not anticipate an Israeli strike as Israel is fully aware of its vulnerability to Iranian missiles.

Tel Aviv and Washington accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of having plans to develop nuclear weapons, under the pretext of which they have threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

This is while the UN body responsible for monitoring Iranian nuclear activities has confirmed that Tehran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent – a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

According to Pentagon officials, Israel conducted a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in early June in preparation for a war with Iran. (more…)

Iran: US must leave Iraq quickly Tuesday, 26 August, 2008

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Press TV – Iran: US must leave Iraq quickly.

Ataollah Salehi

An Iranian commander says American troops must leave Iraq before they sink too deep in the quagmire Washington created in the country.

The US must anticipate an embarrassing withdrawal should Washington continue to delay troop pull out, said Major-General Ataollah Salehi.

His remarks come as the US and Iraq have held secret talks over a controversial security treaty, known as Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which seeks to prolong the presence of US troops in Iraq after a UN mandate expires in December 2008.

The deal has sparked outrage among political and religious Iraqi leaders as well as Iraqi ordinary people who consider the agreement as an infringement of the country’s sovereignty. (more…)

Iraq: We will not be war launch pad Friday, 22 August, 2008

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Press TV – Iraq: We will not be war launch pad.

Fri, 22 Aug 2008 08:39:37 GMT

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari

Iraq’s Foreign Minister says a joint US-Iraqi security treaty would not make the country a ‘launch-pad’ for other US wars in the region.

“The security agreement with the US says Iraq will not be used as a launch pad for attacks against other countries,” Zebari said in a joint press conference with his American counterpart Condoleezza Rice in Baghdad.

Zebari’s remarks came amid speculations that the controversial deal would give the United States a free hand to use Iraq as a logistic base for waging further wars in the region.

Washington has been pushing through the treaty which would determine the legal basis for the presence of US troops in the country after their UN mandate expires in December 2008.

No details of the bilateral negotiations on the treaty have been released but the two countries’ negotiators said that they had agreed to the withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Based on leaked information, the treaty would grant US troops –at least in some degrees– immunity from legal prosecution in Iraq.

The deal has caused uproar among Iraqi religious and political figures who consider it as an infringement of the country’s sovereignty.

Press TV – Israeli involvement in the Georgian-Russian war Sunday, 17 August, 2008

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Press TV – Israeli involvement in the Georgian-Russian war.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 14:37:36 GMT
By Yusuf Fernandez, Press TV, Madrid

For seven years, Israeli companies have been helping the Georgian army to prepare itself for a war against Russia through arms deals, training infantry units and offering security advice, The Jerusalem Post recently claimed.

The war between Russia and Georgia has served to bring Israel’s intensive involvement in the Caucasus into the limelight.

“Israel’s defense industries have sold remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs) -one of which was shot down by Russian fighters in May-, automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rocket to Georgias” the Post said.

The Moscow Times has reported that, according to Koba Liklikadze, an independent military expert based in Tbilisi, Israelis have also helped upgrade Soviet-designed Su-25 ground attack jets assembled in Georgia. Israel has been supplying Georgia with infantry weapons and electronics for artillery systems too.

According to the Post, the initiative to sell arms to Georgia was taken by a group of Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businessmen. (more…)

World supports new nuclear talks with Iran Wednesday, 30 July, 2008

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By Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran

Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach

The following is Press TV’s exclusive full-length interview with Cristina Gallach, the spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, ahead of Saturday talks in Geneva between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program:

Q. What is different about the talks in Geneva?

A. What is different is that about a month ago the international community presented a very generous offer to the Iranian leaders and they now have had enough time to look at these (offers) and we would like very much tomorrow to hear their response and how they evaluate the offer and whether they are ready to start talks. And, of course, the talks that we would like to lead to negotiations.

Q. Has there been any change in the EU position and the Iranian position regarding the Geneva talks?

A. The EU position and the position of all the countries that Mr. Solana represents is that we want very much to have a very solid relationship with Iran, one that encompasses all areas including the nuclear issue, political relations, and economic relations. For that, we would like very much to enter the process of negotiation on the basis of the package, while we have the intention to hear from the Iranian side led by Mr. Jalili on how they assess the proposal of the international community. And we would like very much to be able to create an atmosphere for further negotiations.

(more…)