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RUSSIA WARNS WEST NOT TO MEDDLE IN EX-SOVIET UNION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 11, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister warned the West on Wednesday against meddling in its backyard, saying the U.S. and Sergey LavrovEuropean countries must not advance their interests in the former Soviet Union at Russia’s expense.

Sergey Lavrov told a group of foreign business leaders that Russia has no monopoly on relations with neighboring former Soviet republics, and said Moscow understands that the United States and European Union have legitimate interests in the region.

But, he said, the U.S. and EU must forge relations with former Soviet republics “through legal, understandable and transparent methods,” Lavrov said. “Behind-the-scenes meddling only creates a crisis situation. One must respect the people of these nations and give them the right to choose their own fate.”

Already long-deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West were badly damaged by Russia’s August war with Georgia, a small ex-Soviet republic that has enjoyed strong U.S. backing and is seeking NATO membership.

Lavrov gave no examples of alleged meddling. But the U.S. and Europe have been courting ex-Soviet republics as they vie with Russia for access to Central Asian and Caspian Sea energy resources and seek ties with nations close to sources of concern such as Iran and Afghanistan.

Also, Russian leaders have suggested the U.S. encouraged Georgia to launch an offensive that sparked the five-day war, and say Washington has pressed to bring Ukraine closer to NATO despite significant opposition among its people.

Lavrov stressed Russia’s opposition to U.S. missile defense plans and NATO expansion but indicated that Russia is eager for improved ties with the U.S. He suggested that it would be up to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to make the first move.

“We are counting on the future administration of Barack Obama to confirm what he is now saying about the need to cooperate with Russia in fighting common threats — international terrorism and weapons proliferation,” Lavrov said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

Posted in BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, GEORGIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UKRAINE, USA, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

INDITEX GANÓ 843 MILLONES EN LOS NUEVE PRIMEROS MESES, UN 2% MÁS – Las ventas crecieron un 11% entre febrero y octubre, y alcanzaron los 7.353 millones de euros, un incremento que, a tipo de cambio y perímetro constante, se eleva hasta el 14%

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

11/12/2008 08:07

PUBLISHED BY ‘LA GACETA DE LOS NEGOCIOS’ (Spain)

Madrid. Inditex registró un beneficio neto de 843 millones de euros en los nueve primeros meses de su ejercicio fiscal, lo que supone un incremento del 2% respecto al resultado obtenido en el mismo periodo del año anterior, un 4% más a perímetro constante, informó hoy la compañía a la Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV).

El grupo textil explicó que sus ventas crecieron un 11% entre febrero y octubre, y alcanzaron los 7.353 millones de euros, un incremento que, a tipo de cambio y perímetro constante, se elevó hasta el 14%.

La compañía precisó que, transcurridas seis semanas desde el inicio del cuarto trimestre del ejercicio 2008, las pautas de crecimiento son “similares a las del tercer trimestre”.

El margen bruto de la compañía avanzó un 12%, con lo que se situó en 4.235 millones de euros, y supuso el 57,6% de las ventas. El beneficio bruto de explotación (Ebitda) subió un 5% y se colocó en los 1.545 millones de euros, mientras que el beneficio neto de explotación (Ebit), por su parte, repuntó un 2%, hasta 1.132 millones de euros.

Crecer sin recurrir al endeudamiento

La compañía que preside Amancio Ortega destacó su “fuerte capacidad de generación de caja”, cuya posición neta se incrementó un 9%, hasta 525 millones de euros, lo que le permitió financiar su crecimiento “sin recurrir al endeudamiento”.

En los nueve primeros meses, el grupo abrió un total de 456 nuevas tiendas, 45 más que en el mismo periodo del año anterior, con una inversión de 806 millones. De esta forma, al cierre de octubre Inditex contaba con 4.147 tiendas en 71 países, 456 más que al inicio del ejercicio.

Apuesta por Asia y Europa del Este

Entre los mercados en los que se produjo un mayor incremento en la presencia comercial destaca Rusia, donde el número de tiendas casi se ha duplicado desde el inicio del ejercicio. Otras aperturas reseñables son la tienda Zara inaugurada en Tokio, con la que el grupo alcanzó los 4.000 puntos de venta, así como las primeras tiendas en Montenegro, donde el grupo ha lanzado simultáneamente las cadenas Zara, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius y Oysho.

Por su parte, Uterqüe, cadena especializada en accesorios, alcanzaba un total de 24 tiendas a 31 de octubre, entre ellas las primeras en Portugal.

Asimismo, el grupo creó un total de 7.171 nuevos empleos en los nueve primeros meses, de forma que la plantilla de la compañía estaba integrada por 86.688 personas al cierre de octubre. (ep)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘LA GACETA DE LOS NEGOCIOS’ (Spain)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GARMENT INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, SPAIN, STAGFLATION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

NEW GAS EXPORT STRATEGIES (Iran)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

Thu, Dec 04, 2008

by Majid Karimi

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE IRAN DAILY’

The trilateral meeting between the leaders of Turkmenistan, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan was held at It is difficult to predict the final stance of Turkmenistan toward the Nabucco pipeline, as nothing official has yet been made public.Turkmanbashi, Turkmenistan, on Friday.

Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, Abdullah Gul and Elham Aliev respectively discussed cooperation in the field of energy.

The meeting followed Berdymuhammedov’s visit to Germany and Austria, and negotiations for exporting gas to Europe. Of course, he has not made explicit comments regarding exports of gas to Europe via Nabucco or the trans-Caspian project.

The trans-Caspian project has not yet materialized due to ambiguities surrounding the Caspian legal regime, rift between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over a gas field and environmental problems.

Diversification

After the Turkmanbashi meeting, Financial Times reported Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have reached an agreement about new strategies for exporting the Caspian Sea energy to consumer markets to curb the dependency of European states on Russian gas.

Based on this report, the European Union (EU) and the US have urged Turkmenistan to join the Nabucco pipeline project for transporting gas via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

After meeting his Azeri counterpart, Berdymuhammedov said, “Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, which are rich in hydrocarbon resources, have reached an agreement on diversifying the export routes for energy to the global markets.“

He emphasized that his country is keen on participating in the Nabucco pipeline project, but is under pressure for exporting its gas via Russia, which is the main market for Turkmen gas.

“Turkmenistan has signed a contract for supplying gas to China via the pipeline which is presently under construction,“ he said.

On the threshold of this trilateral meeting, Berdymuhammedov visited Germany and Austria during Nov. 13-19. In these visits, issues pertaining to the transport of Caspian Sea gas bypassing Russia were examined.

Manager of Azerbaijan’s Oil Projects Research Center Ilham Shaban noted that negotiations between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan hints at more extensive cooperation among them in the energy sector than the Nabucco project alone.

Future meetings are not expected to focus on the gas project for building a pipeline through the Caspian seabed because at the presidential level, projects in their preliminary stages are not examined.

“So far, a few meetings have been held between representatives of Turkey and Turkmenistan in which the import of electricity and transport of gas via Iran were discussed. But, the last case did not materialize,“ he said.

The Azeri official noted that till now, no trilateral meeting was held between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.

“I should mention a similar case regarding how things proceeded regarding energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Since November 2002, negotiations took place between Baku and Astaneh at different levels. This eventually led to an intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan regarding oil transport via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Hence, the meeting in Turkmenistan is another step to this end,“ he said.

Since the Commonwealth of Independent States gained their independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has had good economic ties with Turkmenistan and Turkey.

“I personally believe that in future negotiations between the presidents of these countries, more issues will be examined,“ he said.

Shaban further said it is difficult to predict the final stance of Turkmenistan toward the Nabucco pipeline, as nothing official has yet been made public, except a communiquŽ expressing Turkmenistan’s desire to diversify its gas supply.

“Interestingly enough, it has been mentioned that gas will be transported to China from fields located above Amudarya, from northern Dolatabad to Russia via the pipeline alongside the Caspian Sea and whatever is found in the western part of Turkmenistan will be transported to the West,“ he said.

It seems that Turkmenistan has determined, after 17 years of independence, where and how gas should be transported in a viable manner.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE IRAN DAILY’

Posted in CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, KAZAKHSTAN, NATURAL GAS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TURKEY, TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN | Leave a Comment »

WORLD BANK CHIEF: BETTER TIES WITH RUSSIA A MUST

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 20, 2008

Nov. 19, 2008, 2:53PM

by George Frey Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press

BERLIN, — Russia’s ties with the United States and the European Union must be improved to ensure ROBERT ZOELLICKstability, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Wednesday.

Zoellick said it is widely recognized that weak states export trouble — including economic problems, refugees and even narcotics and crime.

“I hope relations with Russia will be guided by a farsighted vision that can create durable, peaceful, mutually beneficial ties,” Zoellick said at a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University.

Zoellick said the global economic crisis shows that the world needed “reinvented global frameworks, to weather the storms of economic changes or climate or insecurity.”

“Today’s financial crisis could be an opportunity to develop sounder economic relations that might be a foundation, with Russia’s help, to build cooperation in solving common problems,” he said.

Zoellick added that Russia’s actions domestically would shape the nature of its relationships with its neighbors.

“President (Dmitry) Medvedev has spoken of Russia’s need to build a rule-of-law society and his own task to develop ‘civic and economic freedoms,'” Zoellick said.

He said recent summits of G-20 leaders and the G-20 finance ministers were examples of the kind of action needed to stabilize the world economy, and emphasized the need to include developing countries.

“As the financial crisis has shown, we need more than the Group of Seven to address today’s 21st Century problems,” he said. “Rising economic powers such as China, India, and Russia must be part of the solution.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘HOUSTON CHRONICLE’ (USA)

Posted in COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, G20, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

EX-ACIONISTAS DA YUKOS PEDEM INDENIZAÇÃO DE US$ 50 BILHÕES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 20, 2008

QUARTA-FEIRA – 19 de novembro de 2008

Mais um processo envolvendo a Yukos, a maior companhia de petróleo russa, pode alterar o rumo de Mikhail Khodorkovskyalguns trilhões de dólares de investimentos em energia. Após a sua privatização, depois do colapso da ex-União Soviética, a Yukos chegou a valer US$ 33 bilhões, mas foi desmantelada por meio de sucessivas fraudes e envolvida em operações de sonegação tributária, prejudicando seus acionistas. Depois de declarada falida, seus ativos foram vendidos para companhias de energia nacionais por valores insignificantes.

Alguns diretores da empresa foram presos, incluindo Mikhail Khodorkovsky, executivo principal, que está cumprindo uma pena de oito anos de prisão na Sibéria. Apesar de alguns poucos processos judiciais questionando as vendas dos ativos, porém, os maiores acionistas da companhia, que a ajudaram a se projetar após a privatização, não puderam recuperar seus prejuízos na Justiça da Rússia.

Agora, a GML – antes conhecida como Grupo Menatep -, um fundo de pensão que representava 40 mil empregados da própria Yukos, recorreu a árbitros internacionais reclamando prejuízos da ordem de US$ 100 bilhões. O grupo tinha 51% das ações da Yukos. Mas a questão pode ir além da discussão econômica. O tribunal privado de arbitragem The Hague começou a analisar um processo que irá determinar se a Rússia aplicou o tratado ECT – Energy Charter Treaty, destinado a reduzir as emissões de gás que geram o efeito estufa, além de estabelecer metas de sustentabilidade e desenvolvimento econômico e segurança dos sistemas de energia. A Rússia e mais quatro países – Austrália, Belarus, Islândia e Noruega (leia a relação dos países signátários abaixo) – assinaram mas não ratificaram o tratado.

Tim Osborne, diretor da GML, disse que a Rússia estava tentando evitar cumprir suas obrigações legais ao apresentar uma proposta que evitava compensar os acionistas de Yukos. “A Rússia estava desesperada para ver o tratado em vigor quando queria receber investimentos estrangeiros mas agora não quer seguir as regras”, insistiu.

Ratificação

A GML alega que, sob as regras do ECT, um investidor tem o direito de discordar de questões que envolvam atos de um governoe recorrer a arbitragem internacional. O tratado prevê que a decisão do árbitro é final. A Rússia insiste que os ex-acionistas da Yukos não têm qualquer direito neste caso, porque o país não ratificou o tratado.

Mesmo assim, vários advogados entendem que a Rússia e os outros países que não ratificaram o ECT poderão ser processados por investidores que se sentirem prejudicados. Na opinião dos especialistas Mikhail Khodorkovskyem investimentos em energia, o tratado foi assinado para dar mais segurança aos investidores no setor na década de 90. Agora, o tratado voltou a ser discutido quando se prevê que serão aplicados mais de US$ 25 trilhões em infra-estrutura de produção de energia antes das 2030, de acordo com estimativas de International Energy Agency.

Para Stephen Jagusch, perito de arbitragem de energia da Allen & Overy, o julgamento do caso Rússia-Yukos é importante e poderá influenciar outros julgamentos, apesar de a reivindicação da GML ser considerada “uma gota no oceano”. O pedido de US$ 50 bilhões poderá atingir US$ 100 bilhões.

A GML alega que o mais valioso ativo da Yukos foi confiscado pelas autoridades russas e vendido à Rosneft, a companhia de óleo controlada pelo estado. Seu fundador, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, hoje preso, também foi processado pela GML.

Prisões políticas?

Hoje baseada em Gibraltar, a GML ainda tem bens imóveis e outros investimentos na Europa Ocidental, e é controlada por Leonid Nevzlin, homem de negócios russo em exílio auto-imposto no Israel. Nevzlin deixou a Rússia depois que a Yukos foi desmantelada e tem várias ações criminais em seu país. Platon Lebedev, outro acionista da GML, também está preso na Rússia. Assim como Khodorkovsky, ele sustenta que os processos têm motivações políticas. A fortuna dele foi calculada pela revista de Forbes em US$ 2 bilhões.

Em janeiro, o oligarca Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-presidente da Yukos, chegou a fazer greve de fome na prisão para exigir um tratamento digno a Vasily Alexanyan, ex-diretor da companhia, HIV positivo, preso na mesma prisão. Alexanyan, que também é advogado acusou os promotores de reter medicamentos vitais para forçá-lo a assinar falsas confissões que incriminariam Khodorkovsky e outro sócio da Yukos, Platon Lebedev. As acusações apresentadas em janeiro, envolvendo lavagem de dinheiro, podem manter Lebedev e Khodorkovsky na prisão por mais 15 anos.

A Suprema Corte da Rússia rejeitou em janeiro o argumento de Alexanyan, que pretendia ser transferido da prisão para um hospital de civil. Ele também responde a acusações de lavagem de dinheiro, desfalques e sonegação tributária. Ele acusou os funcionários de prisão de mantê-lo deliberadamente em uma cela úmida e imunda, mesmo sabendo que o sistema imunológico dele é frágil, em represália à sua recusa em assinar as falsas confissões contra seu ex-chefe.

A Rússia ignorou os apelos do Tribunal Europeu de Direitos Humanos para a transferência de Alexanyan para um hospital. Terry Davis, secretário geral do Conselho da Europa, expressou a sua “preocupação” com o estado de saúde do detento, em uma carta para o representante da Rússia.

A prisão de Khodorkovsky foi espetacular, em 2003, quando foi retirado de um jatinho sob a suspeita de que se preparava para deixar o país. Acusado de fraude e sonegação tributária em 2003, ele foi condenado em 2005.

Inicialmente seu processo foi visto como uma “vingança” do presidente Putin contra o oligarca, por ele ter apoiado os candidatos de oposição em eleições parlamentárias.

Membros do ECT

A GML contratou um dos maiores advogados da área de arbitragem de da Europa, Emmanuel Gaillard, do escritório Shearman & Sterling, para conduzir o caso. Mas a batalha judicial será demorada, podendo levar algumas décadas.

O tratado ECT indica a arbitragem como o procedimento “standard” para solucionar disputas entre os investidores estrangeiros e os governos, principalmente quando o Estado é “sócio”. De acordo com a secretaria do ECT, já houve 20 processos similares, contra estados como a Hungria, a Geórgia e a Turquia.

Países signitários do ECT – Energy Charter Treaty:

Albania, Armenia, Australia*, Austria, Azerbaijão, Belarus*, Bélgica, Bósnia e Herzegovina, Bulgária, Croácia, Chipre, República Tcheca, Dinamarca, Estônia, União européia, Finlândia, França, Geórgia, Alemanha, Grécia, Hungria, a Islândia*, Irlanda, Itália, Japão, Kazakhstão, Kirgizstão, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lituânia, Luxemburgo, Malta, Moldávia, Mongólia, Holanda, a Noruega*, Polônia, Portugal, Romênia, Russia*, Eslováquia, Eslovênia, Espanha, Suécia, Suíça, Tajikistão, Macedônia,Turquia, Turkmenistão, Ucrânia, Reino Unido e Uzbekistão.

*Países que assinaram mas ainda não ratificaram o tratado.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘EXPRESSO DA NOTÍCIA’ (Brasil)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FRAUD, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, MONEY LAUDERING, PETROL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA | Leave a Comment »

SEN. CLINTON’S VIEWS ON U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

Saturday November 15, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sen. Hillary Clinton has emerged as a candidate for U.S. secretary of state – SENATOR HILLARY CLINTONthe top diplomat in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama, who defeated her for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Here are some views on foreign policy issues expressed by Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton.

IRAQ

“Ending the war in Iraq is the first step toward restoring the United States’ global leadership,” Clinton wrote a year ago in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine. U.S. troops had to be brought home safely and stability restored to the region, she said.

But on the campaign trail, Clinton was more reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. She refused to apologize for her 2002 Senate vote authorizing the war, but did say she would like to have that vote back to do over.

AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN AND AL QAEDA

During the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the United States should focus more on improving security in Afghanistan. She has called for greater U.S. troop deployments there. She also has suggested a U.S. envoy who could shuttle between the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to help them in their efforts against a resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda presence in their countries.

IRAN

A big question for Obama’s secretary of state will be how to approach Iran. The Bush administration, which accuses Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb and helping militant groups in Iraq, has generally HILLARY RODHAM CLINTONshunned contacts with Tehran.

During the Democratic presidential primary campaign, Clinton charged that Obama’s willingness to meet leaders of Iran, Syria and North Korea was evidence of his naivete about foreign policy. She has threatened to “obliterate” Iran if it uses nuclear weapons against Israel.

But Clinton also has argued for engaging Iran, Syria and other countries of the region in talks about the future of Iraq. And one of her top foreign policy advisors, Richard Holbrooke, a former assistant secretary of state, suggested recently that U.S. contacts with Iran should start through private and confidential channels to determine if there is a basis for continuing.

MIDDLE EAST

Clinton stresses the need for Arab-Israeli peace, but is considered a favorite of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. She says the fundamentals are a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank in return for a declaration that the conflict is over, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, guarantees of Israeli security, diplomatic recognition of Israel and normalization of its relations with Arab states.

“U.S. diplomacy is critical in helping to resolve this conflict,” she said in her article in Foreign Affairs in November-December 2007. She said the United States should help get Arab support for a Palestinian leadership that is willing to engage in a dialogue with the Israelis.

RUSSIA AND ARMS CONTROL

“I think she would probably be tough-minded toward Russia,” said Kim Holmes, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation. “She has a reputation of being tough-minded generally, she is known and respected for that.”

Clinton has however criticized the Bush administration’s “obsessive” focus on “expensive and unproven missile defense technology” — one of the major points of contention recently in the U.S. relationship with Russia.

She favors further reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, and also favors U.S. Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

CHINA AND NORTH KOREA

Clinton has said the U.S. relationship with China will be the most important bilateral relationship in the world this century. Noting China’s support was important in reaching a multilateral deal to disable North Korea’s nuclear facilities, she says “we should build on this framework to establish a northeast Asian security regime.”

TRADE

Like Obama, Clinton has said the United States should either renegotiate or “opt out” of the North American Free Trade Agreement that was reached with Canada and Mexico during her husband’s administration. She also has called for a “timeout” from new trade agreements and a top-to-bottom review of trade policy.

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

Posted in AFGHANISTAN, AL QAEDA, CHINA, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, IRAQ, ISRAEL, LEBANON, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH KOREA, PAKISTAN, PALESTINE, RUSSIA, SYRIA, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

GEORGIE’S FUTILE EXERCISE OF FULL FLEDGED HYPOCRISY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 16, 2008

Aug. 14th, 2008 at 6:36 PM

CHARGE BY KHALIL RAHMAN

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PUBLISHED BY ‘KHALIL’S JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, GEORGIA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, USA, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

OPEC REDUX: RESPONDING TO THE RUSSIAN-IRANIAN GAS CARTEL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) by Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) (*)

MOSCOW – Steadily and stealthily, a natural gas cartel has emerged over the last seven years. On Ariel Cohen, the usually obnoxious 'scarecrow' with a PhD ...Oct. 21 in Tehran, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) agreed to form a troika which will direct the future cartel. Russia, Iran, and Qatar announced they will form a yet-unnamed group “to coordinate gas policy.” The troika will meet to coordinate and control close to two-thirds of the world’s gas reserves and a quarter of its gas production.

Russia prefers to coordinate energy policies with Tehran, recognizing that together they control roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and about half of global gas reserves, offering tremendous geo-economic power.

The United States should create an international coalition of energy consumers to oppose energy cartels. The U.S. Congress should also allow energy exploration in the Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, and along the continental shelves and expand cooperative gas ties with Canada.

Russia’s Global Gas Strategy

In the tight global energy market, Russia clearly appreciates the bargaining power that its energy resources provide, as it attempts to control energy exports from the New Independent States, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia also has strengthened its ties to Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and other energy exporters. Recently, Moscow also launched a “charm offensive” on OPEC.

Russia is playing a sophisticated game to maximize its advantage as the leading gas producer with the largest reserves on the planet as well as the second largest oil exporter.

Russia’s approach was gradualist. Moscow had never openly shown enthusiasm about a gas cartel but waited for an opportunity to launch one. Yet, the cartel reportedly was a brainchild of the Russian prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s approach was also stealthy. Instead of announcing the cartel prematurely and spooking consumer countries, it quietly put the component parts into place. Until the Tehran declaration, Russia was able to appear reasonable.

At the Doha meeting in April, members of the GECF agreed to discuss dividing the consumer markets between them, particularly in Europe. Russia and Algeria are already major players there, and Iran may join them in the next decade. This will clearly challenge the European Union’s energy liberalization and gas deregulation policy, which took effect on July 1.

Geopolitical Clout

The troika and GECF members are planning to “reach strategic understandings” on export volumes, schedules of deliveries, and the construction of new pipelines. They plan to explore and develop gas fields and coordinate startups and production schedules. Despite protestations to the contrary, the GECF has all the trappings of a nascent cartel, and the troika includes its founding members. These founders will expand cooperation beyond their relationship through the GECF and drag other gas producers with them.

The new group will provide its three leaders with greater geopolitical advantage. If this new cartel expands, Russia and Iran will gain clout over Eurasian gas suppliers, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Major gas producers such as Iran, Russia, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Brunei, and Venezuela have one feature in common: a democracy deficit. All three members of the new cartel share this dubious quality. Just like OPEC, the gas cartel will be a force that can be used to challenge and possibly weaken market–based democracies through energy prices and wealth transfer. Such a cartel may cut deals with undemocratic large-scale consumers, such as China, while forcing the West to pay full price.

Coordinated Global Action Needed

The U.S. George W. Bush administration barely reacted to the Tehran and Doha meetings. Officials express concern, but only in private. The European Commission merely stated that it opposed price-fixing cartels in principle.

As the case of OPEC demonstrates, closing markets to competition, promoting national oil companies, and limiting production results in limited supply and higher oil prices. Gas will not be different.

What the U.S. Can Do

The United States should open its vast natural gas resources onshore and offshore to further exploration and production and encourage its neighbors in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean to do the same.

The next administration should work with the European Union, Japan, China, India, and other countries to prevent the cartelization of the gas sector. This can be accomplished through cooperation with the International Energy Agency, which China and India should be invited to join, and by applying anti-trust legislation worldwide against state-owned companies that are actively involved in cartel-like behavior in energy markets.

Finally, the United States should work closely with those within GECF who oppose Russian-Iranian domination, including Azerbaijan, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway. The National Security Council and the National Economic Council should take the lead in developing this policy. Unless buyer solidarity is translated into action, energy consumers and economic growth will suffer worldwide.

(*) – Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

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SARKOZY SAYS U.S. MISSILE SHIELD WON’T HELP SECURITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

The Associated Press

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, gestures during a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008

NICE, France: France’s U.S.-friendly president sent a clear message Friday to the next American administration: Plans for a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe are misguided, and won’t make the continent a safer place.

Nicolas Sarkozy also warned Russian President Dmitry Medvedev against upping tensions by deploying missiles on the borders of the European Union in response to the U.S. planned missile defense system.

Sarkozy’s comments, at a summit with Medvedev, were the strongest to date by an American ally against the missile-defense plans — and undercut the rationale behind U.S. President George W. Bush’s European security strategy.

The plans for using sites in Poland and the Czech Republic have infuriated Russia despite the Bush administration’s insistence that they are aimed at protecting Europe from Iran.

“Deployment of a missile defense system would bring nothing to security … it would complicate things, and would make them move backward,” Sarkozy said at a news conference with Medvedev. Medvedev smiled and pointed his finger at Sarkozy in approval.

The remarks came at the end of a week in which the United States and Russia rejected each other’s proposed solutions to the standoff over the missile plans, making it increasingly likely that it will not be resolved before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Obama has not been explicit about his intentions on European missile defense, saying it would be prudent to “explore the possibility” but expressing some skepticism about the technical capability of U.S. missile defenses.

Moscow sees the defense plans as a Cold War-style project that could eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrent or spy on its military installations. Much of Western Europe is nervous about the idea of such major defensive weaponry stationed around the continent.

But Poland and the Czech Republic, where bad memories of Soviet domination run deep, hope Obama follows through on the plans.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said in a statement he “was surprised” about Sarkozy’s remarks, made at an EU-Russia summit.

“France never consulted with us such a standpoint,” he said. “As far as I know a stance on the missile defense was not part of the French presidency mandate for the EU-Russia summit.” France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Sarkozy said he was worried about Russia’s threat to deploy short-range Iskander missiles near Poland in response to the U.S. move.

“We could continue between Europe and Russia to threaten each other with shields, with missiles, with navies,” he said. “It would do Russia no good, Georgia no good and Europe no good.”

Sarkozy said he would discuss the missile issue with NATO counterparts at a summit early next year and proposed a pan-European security conference after that, to include Russia. Medvedev welcomed the idea.

Sarkozy has generally been hawkish on Iran and allied himself more closely with Bush than his predecessor Jacques Chirac. But Sarkozy is also clearly looking ahead to his relations with Bush’s successor.

Medvedev stuck to Russia’s stance. He suggested that the Russian threat to install missiles in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad — announced just hours after Obama’s election — was “a response to the behavior of certain European states that agreed to deploy new (missile defenses) on their own territories without consulting anyone.”

Friday’s summit made a key step toward rapprochement between Russia and the European Union: The EU announced the resumption of partnership talks with Russia that had been put on hold because of the war in Georgia.

Critics, including the United States and Georgian governments and human rights groups, say it is too soon to forgive Russia, in effect, when Russian troops remain implanted and unchecked in the two breakaway Georgian provinces at the core of the war.

Sarkozy, temporarily in charge of the 27-nation EU, insisted that the resumption wasn’t “a sign of weakness.”

He and Medvedev remained divided, though, over the continuing presence of Russian troops.

The European Union is Russia’s No. 1 customer and No. 1 investor, and heavily dependent on Russian energy. With the world financial crisis shaking markets in Europe and beyond, officials of the 27-nation EU say reaching out to Moscow is crucial to ensuring stability and to keeping Russia from shutting off its economy to outsiders.

Medvedev pointed on Friday to the lucrative trade between the EU and Russia, worth hundreds of billions of euros annually.

“We should think of this when we make decisions on all cooperation,” he said.

The EU-Russia talks, launched in 2007, aim for an agreement that would increase economic integration, tighten relations on justice and security and boost cooperation in education and science. U.S. diplomats warned European officials that the resumed talks could undermine Western attempts to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy.

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EU UNVEILS PLAN TO WEAKEN RUSSIAN GRIP ON GAS SUPPLY – Southern corridor pipeline would bypass Gazprom – Strategy is part of £1.5tn energy security package

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday November 14 2008

by Ian Traynor in Brussels – The Guardian – guardian.co.uk

Europe yesterday stepped up attempts to reduce its exposure to potential Russian blackmail over energy supplies, unveiling an ambitious strategy aimed at weakening Russian giant Gazprom’s domination of Europe’s gas imports.

On the eve of the Russia-EU summit today in France, the energy package released by the European commission highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian exports and sought to devise strategies to wean Europe off the addiction.

Of six energy projects pinpointed for development, commission officials said the two “absolute” priorities were to connect the three post-Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to European power grids and to forge ahead with the so-called “southern gas corridor”, which is supposed to transport gas from the Caspian basin to Europe while, for political reasons, bypassing the world’s two biggest gas producers, Russia and Iran. Both projects are aimed at loosening Russia’s grip.

By next year Brussels also aims to have set up a consortium of European companies to buy gas from the Caspian basin, to be shipped to Europe in a new pipeline from Azerbaijan, via Turkey and the Balkans, to Austria from 2013. Gazprom currently controls all the pipelines sending gas to Europe from the east.

“The EU wants different sources of supply,” said José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, who will negotiate on energy today with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, at a summit in the south of France. “We must not sleepwalk into Europe’s energy dependence crisis.”

The Baltic states are isolated from the rest of the EU in their energy supplies and dependent on Russia, while another five EU countries in central Europe and Ireland also get all their gas from Russia. Germany is the EU’s biggest Gazprom client.

Europe currently gets 42% of its gas, a third of its oil and a quarter of its hard coal from Russia. The commission estimates that by 2030 Europe will be importing 84% of its gas needs, up from 61% at present.

In a direct reference to the perceived threat from Russia, a commission document warned: “Recent events in Georgia have shown that this is a critical time for energy security.”

The immediate focus on Russia was contained in a more grandiose long-term package calling for the integration of European power grids and energy markets; the incorporation of North Sea wind farms and Mediterranean solar energy hubs in a nascent European “supergrid”; the development of vast pan-European infrastructure projects; and an energy efficiency revolution. The entire scheme- aimed at making Europe’s energy consumption “secure, sustainable, and competitive” – would cost almost €2 trillion (£1.5tn) by 2030 and is also factored into the campaign on global warming, ostensibly making Europe the world leader in the low-carbon economy contest.

The commission proposals said current contingency planning on gas supplies “might not provide an effective and timely response in crisis situations” and called for common policy-making among the 27 member states to define “an effective EU emergency plan”, to cope with possible disruptions of supplies.

The EU has been struggling for two years to come up with coherent policies towards Russia, particularly on energy, while Russia and Gazprom have strengthened their grip by creating facts on the ground and cutting deals with individual countries.

Relations between Moscow and the west, already poor, plumbed new depths in August when Russia invaded Georgia. Despite the tensions, EU governments decided on Monday to resume negotiations with Moscow that were called off in protest at the Caucasus conflict. Britain performed a volte-face, going from being a fierce critic of Moscow to supporting the resumption of talks on a strategic pact between Russia and Europe.

“The British signalled well in advance that they were giving up [opposition to the negotiations],” said a senior European minister.

The dependence on Russian energy played a crucial role, he added. With gas prices currently low, Gazprom has in recent weeks been offering long-term supply contracts to individual EU countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, sowing divisions within the EU. The east European and British critics of Russia abandoned their opposition in the hope that a concerted policy would strengthen the EU in its dealings with Moscow.

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MEDVEDEV PLANS TRIP TO CUBA ON LATIN AMERICAN TOUR LATER THIS MONTH

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008, 15:30

Agencies

Nice: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit US foe Cuba on a tour of Latin American states later DIMITRI MEDEVEDEVthis month, his spokeswoman said on Friday.

“As part of his trip to Latin America … this month, the president will also visit Cuba,” spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union-Russia summit in the French resort of Nice.

Russia has been building ties with Latin American leaders who are cool towards the United States, a drive the Kremlin said is about trade but which some analysts say is designed to signal to Washington that Russia is once again a world power.

Medvedev had been scheduled only to visit Venezuela, Brazil and Peru on his tour of the region. His spokeswoman did not give an exact date for the Cuban leg of the trip.

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RUSSIAN ENVOY CRITICIZES NATO REFUSAL TO LET HIM ADDRESS SESSION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

13:38 – 14/11/2008

by Ria Novosti

BRUSSELS, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s envoy to NATO has criticized the alliance for refusing Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozinhim the right to address the NATO parliamentary session starting on Friday in Spain, while allowing the Georgian leader to give a speech.

NATO’s 54th Parliamentary Assembly session in Valencia runs from November 14 to 18. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been actively seeking membership in the Western military alliance, is expected to focus on criticism of Russia’s role in the August conflict over South Ossetia.

“Parliamentarians should be free to choose their information sources on the conflict. Instead of hearing alternative information, they will be listening to the twittering of Saakashvili,” Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti.

He said he had intended to give Russia’s account of Georgia’s August 8 attack on breakaway South Ossetia and the ensuing five-day war between Russia and Georgia, but that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s president, Jose Lello, had refused, saying there was not sufficient time to fit him into the session schedule.

Saakashvili will give his speech on November 18. Rogozin said he has refused NATO’s invitation to attend the session.

During the August conflict, most Western powers sided with Georgia, accepting Saakashvili’s claim that Georgia reacted to military aggression from Russia.

However, Saakashvili’s version of events has come under scrutiny since the conflict, and Western rights groups have criticized Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetian civilians.

A report released on November 4 by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the Georgian military used cluster munitions in civilian areas of South Ossetia.

Independent observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have said they are unable to verify Georgia’s claim that Russia bombarded Georgian villages in the run-up to the conflict. Georgia had based its justification for its attack on South Ossetia on the alleged Russian bombardment.

Saakashvili has also come under pressure in his own country. Around 10,000 protesters gathered on the streets of Tbilisi last Friday, rallying against the president for dragging the country into a costly war that it had little chance of winning.

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‘GAS TROIKA’ PLANS LNG JOINT VENTURE, PAPER SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Eric Watkins – Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 – Russia’s state-owned OAO Gazprom, Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. Ltd., and PETRON - GASOLINE STATION - FUEL - PETROLEUM - OIL - KEROSENE - DIESELNational Iranian Oil Co. plan to establish a joint venture to produce gas from Iran’s South Pars field and liquefy it at Qatar’s Ras Laffan.

Each founder will get 30% in the project and the remaining 10% will go to the trader, probably to China’s CNPC or Korean Kogas, according to a report in Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper.

Participation by Qatar—a key US ally in the region — will level political risks triggered by the sales of Iranian gas, experts told the paper.

The plans are to set up the gas production infrastructure in South Pars, lay a pipeline across the Persian Gulf to Qatar, and construct an LNG facility at Ras Laffan.

The Kommersant report came as a Russian delegation led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Doha, Qatar, for talks with Qatari and Iranian officials on cooperation in natural gas exports.

Ahead of the meeting, Putin sought to allay the fears of gas consumers who viewed a meeting in Tehran last month as the start of a process that would eventually lead to the formation of an OPEC-like group of natural gas exporters.

At the time, Alexey Miller, chairman of OAO Gazprom’s management committee, said their discussions “may contribute greatly to developing the agenda for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum…,” which could be rapidly transformed “into a permanent organization promoting steady and reliable fuel supplies around the globe (OGJ Online, Oct. 24, 2008).”

Following the announcement, the European Union — Russia’s biggest gas customer — warned it could reconsider its energy policy if Russia, Iran, and Qatar formed a “gas OPEC.”

Putin said Nov. 11 that there were “absolutely no grounds for such fears,” adding, “We are not establishing a cartel; we are not striking any cartel deals.”

Putin said, “Energy producers, as well as consumers, have the right to— and in my view must —coordinate their decisions, exchange information, and do their best to ensure uninterrupted hydrocarbon supplies on global markets.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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EU PRODS GOVERNMENTS TO DO MORE FOR SECURE ENERGY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Posted on Thu, Nov. 13, 2008

by Robert Wielaard

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission told EU governments Thursday that Western Europe the European Commission sets out its vision for an Energy strategy for Europe -- The European Commission will set out the broad lines for a coherent European energy policy in a major new Green Paper.needs more power grids and pipelines to ensure reliable supplies of electricity and natural gas between now and 2050.

In a sobering assessment, it said “Europe’s energy networks are no longer up to the task of providing secure energy supplies in the foreseeable future.”

It urged governments to ease their reliance on Russia for gas by building an EU-wide distribution network so that import cuts , like those of 2006, when Russia stopped deliveries to Ukraine , can be offset by getting gas from somewhere else.

“A major benefit of a European network is that everyone can help each other … in a crisis,” the European Commission said in a “Strategic Energy Review.”

It said by 2030, 1 trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) must be spent improving the EU’s power grids and production capacity and about 150 billion euros ($188 billion) on gas networks.

It listed six costly distribution networks , including one for the Baltic region and a “southern gas corridor” to the Caspian Sea region , as priority projects.

The commission asked EU governments to endorse an energy strategy ranging from making Europe more energy efficient to diversifying its energy sources.

Energy prices rose on average 15 percent in the EU in 2007 and 54 percent of the bloc’s energy is imported , at a cost of euro700 for every EU citizen, according to EU data.

Unless this trend is reversed, imports will total 70 percent of EU energy use by 2030, said European Commission President Manuel Barroso.

Russian gas , through the Gazprom monopoly , today represents 42 percent of EU gas imports. Half of that goes to Germany and Italy. East European EU members are highly dependent on Russian gas.

The report acknowledged that gas exports give Russia political influence in the European Union.

“Political incidents in supplier or transit countries, accidents or natural disasters, remind the EU of the vulnerability of its immediate energy supply,” the report said.

To diversify imports, it listed five large-scale projects: connecting EU nations around the Baltic and North Seas; a North Sea offshore grid for wind energy; a Mediterranean “ring” to develop and share renewable energy resources as well as gas reserves in North Africa; a “Southern Corridor” to bring gas from the Caspian area into the EU; and integrating gas and electricity networks in the Balkans.

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ROBERT GATES CLAIMS HE KNOWS WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS BAD FOR RUSSIA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 12, 2008

12.11.2008 Source: AP ©

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that Russia should not feel threatened when ROBERT GATESEastern European countries strengthen their ties to the West.

Speaking briefly to reporters after meeting with Estonia Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Gates said they discussed Russia’s recent behavior, including its invasion of Georgia in August.

“Russia has no need to impede a sovereign country’s desire to more fully integrate with the West,” said Gates, as he stood next to Ansip. “Doing so is not a threat to Russian security, nor is further cooperation on cyber issues.”

Asked about his country’s security, Ansip said that he fully expects that NATO would defend Estonia, which is a member of the North Atlantic alliance.

Gates added that the U.S. continually reviews its assessment of the security situation in the region and that officials from U.S. European Command were in Estonia last month for talks on the matter.

Gates is visiting Estonia for the first time to attend a meeting of NATO defense ministers in a deliberate show of support for Eastern European nations, including the Baltics and Ukraine, in the face of increased muscle-flexing by Moscow.

The meeting comes as temperatures rise between Moscow and Washington, including ongoing discord over the U.S. plans to put a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Kremlin has rejected a second set of U.S. proposals offered to assuage increasingly strident Russian criticism of plans for an American missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, news agencies reported Wednesday.

The Bush administration says the system would protect Europe against potential future attacks by Iranian long-range missiles. Moscow has angrily dismissed those assertions, saying the system could eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrent or spy on its military installations.

In a major speech just hours after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential vote, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to base short-range Iskander missiles in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad on the border with Poland if the U.S. goes forward with its plans.

The Bush administration later sent Moscow a new set of proposals, including new suggestions about allowing Russian observers at planned U.S. sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to the U.S. acting undersecretary of state for arms control John Rood.

The Kremlin did not comment on the report.

U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood would also not comment on the remark, but said the United States wanted to work with Russia on missile defense.

“And so we hope that Russia will cooperate with us closely on this,” Wood said. “We want to have discussions.”

Obama’s plans remain unclear regarding the defense system, but an Obama aide said over the weekend that the incoming U.S. president did not commit to the missile defense plans during a recent conversation with Poland’s president.

An American official said separately that the U.S. and Russia will begin talks Thursday in Geneva on finding a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires at the end of next year. The 1991 START treaty significantly cut U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

The official spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to be quoted by name.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said the U.S. State Department’s third-ranked official, William Burns, met with Lavrov and Kremlin foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko Wednesday about missile defense talks that would take place next month. No further details were released.

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ESPAÑA ESTÁ PREPARADA PARA HACER FRENTE A LOS REQUISITOS DE EXPORTACIÓN DE RUSIA – El Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino (MARM) ha asegurado hoy que España está preparada para exportar frutas y hortalizas a Rusia a pesar de los requisitos fijados por ese país a las autoridades europeas y que en nuestro país ya se habían previsto.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

31/10/2008

EFE- Así lo ha asegurado el director general de Recursos Agrícolas y Ganaderos, Carlos Escribano, quien ha subrayado que hay “otros Estados miembros a los que a lo mejor se les plantea un problema si no estaban tan preparados, pero nosotros estamos en condiciones de hacer frente a las condiciones rusas”.

El año pasado, España exportó 50.000 toneladas de cítricos a Rusia, y el objetivo es ampliar “considerablemente” año a año estas cantidades, según el director general, quien se ha mostrado “optimista” ante las posibilidades de vender estos productos a ese país.

“No hay ningún problema, es un trabajo más que tienen que hacer las empresas, las Comunidades Autónomas y el Ministerio, pero los tres estamos preparados y ya se han mandado las instrucciones, los protocolos y los procedimientos para poder hacerlo sin más complicaciones”, ha resaltado.

Freshfel, la asociación que reúne a los comerciantes europeos de frutas y hortalizas, denunció ayer que las nuevas trabas de Rusia a las verduras y cítricos suponen un obstáculo a las exportaciones.

Escribano, por su parte, ha explicado que hace unos meses representantes del MARM trataron en Moscú con las autoridades rusas estas condiciones, que pasan por la no aceptación de ese país de las normas del Codex Alimentario Internacional y por que se cumpla su propia legislación.

A partir de ahí, según ha aclarado, España hizo saber a la Comisión Europea estos requisitos y le pidió que negociase con Rusia en nombre de todos los Estados miembros dada la importancia del sector hortofrutícola y, en especial, de los cítricos españoles, así como de los productos cárnicos, que también se ven afectados.

Posteriormente, el Ministerio reunió a las Comunidades Autónomas y, por otra parte, a los exportadores de frutas y hortalizas para explicarles estas condiciones a las exportaciones.

Por todo ello, se elaboró un documento -que es una declaración del agricultor en el que precisa los tratamientos efectuados- y que era solicitado por las autoridades rusas, y se trasladó al sector que ese país también les pediría un análisis previo de los productos utilizados para comprobar si dejaban residuos.

Escribano ha añadido que entre los laboratorios de las empresas, de las Comunidades Autónomas y del Estado se pusieron de acuerdo en que España haría esos análisis y estos certificados para respaldar las exportaciones de los productos.

“Para nosotros es una dificultad más, un trabajo más que tenemos que hacer, pero estamos preparados para ello”, ha garantizado Escribano.

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Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, RUSSIA, SPAIN | Leave a Comment »

UC RUSAL SUGGESTS SETTING UP METAL RESERVE (Russia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

RBC, 31.10.2008, Moscow 09:54:09

UC RUSAL approached Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin with a proposal to create a strategic state metal reserve to give an impetus to the Russian processing industry and stabilize metal prices, RBC Daily wrote today. To shore up the aluminum market and prevent a fall in aluminum prices, the company suggested that intergovernmental agreements be signed with a number of countries to cut metals production by 10 percent for the next two years.

The same idea is propounded in the letter of UC RUSAL’s General Director Alexander Bulygin addressed to Alexei Kudrin offering steps to stem the crisis in the Russian metal processing industry. In his letter, Bulygin notes that due to the crisis, the Russian metals industry could be forced to lay off 1.2m people, lose RUB 1 trillion (approx. USD 37.68bn) in export proceeds from high value-added products, and fail to contribute RUB 200bn (approx. USD 7.54bn) in taxes to the federal budget. UC RUSAL sees a state metals reserve as a way to stanch the crisis, as it will not only work to diversify government investment, but will also help stabilize metal prices.

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EL MUNDO SE CANSA DEL DOMINIO DEL DÓLAR

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

[31.10.2008]- Actualización 9:40 am de Cuba

por Paul Craig Roberts *

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

¿Qué explica la paradoja de la fuerte subida del valor del dólar contra otras monedas (excepto el yen japonés) a pesar de la desproporcionada vulnerabilidad de EE.UU. a la peor crisis financiera desde la Gran Depresión?

La respuesta no yace en la mejora de los fundamentos de la economía de EE.UU. o en mejores perspectivas para que el dólar mantenga su papel de moneda de reserva.

El aumento del valor de cambio del dólar se debe a dos factores:

Un factor es la huída tradicional hacia la moneda de reserva resultante del pánico. La gente hace simplemente lo que ha hecho siempre. Pam Martens predijo correctamente que la demanda de notas del Tesoro de EE.UU. provocada por el pánico fortalecería el dólar de EE.UU.

El otro factor es el desdoble del carry trade [financiarse en una divisa para invertir en otra]. El carry trade se originó en los tipos de interés extremadamente bajos en Japón. Inversionistas y especuladores pidieron prestados yenes japoneses a una tasa de interés de un medio por ciento, convirtieron los yenes en otras monedas, y compraron instrumentos de deuda de otros países que pagan tasas de interés mucho más elevadas. En efecto, estaban obteniendo fondos prácticamente gratuitos de Japón para prestarlos a otros que pagaban intereses más altos.

La crisis financiera ha revertido este proceso. Los tóxicos derivados estadounidenses fueron vendidos en todo el mundo por Wall Street. Han puesto en peligro los balances y la solvencia de instituciones financieras en todo el mundo, incluyendo a gobiernos nacionales como Islandia y Hungría. Bancos y gobiernos que invirtieron en los atribulados instrumentos financieros estadounidenses vieron que sus propios instrumentos de la deuda estaban en peligro.

Los que usaron préstamos en yen para comprar, por ejemplo, instrumentos de deuda de bancos europeos o bonos islandeses, enfrentaron pérdidas potencialmente catastróficas. Inversionistas y especuladores vendieron sus instrumentos financieros de mayor rendimiento en una lucha por conseguir dólares y yenes para pagar sus préstamos japoneses. Este hizo subir los valores del yen y del dólar de EE.UU., la moneda de reserva que puede ser utilizada para pagar deudas, e hizo bajar los valores de otras monedas.

La subida del dólar es temporal, y sus perspectivas son poco prometedoras. El déficit comercial de EE.UU. disminuirá por los menores gastos de los consumidores durante la recesión, pero seguirá siendo el mayor del mundo y EE.UU. no lo puede reducir exportando más.

La manera como se financia el déficit comercial de EE.UU. es que extranjeros compran más activos en dólares, que ya pesan demasiado en sus portafolios.

El déficit presupuestario de EE.UU. es grande y crece, agregando cientos de miles de millones de dólares más a una deuda nacional que ya es muy grande. Ya que los inversionistas huyen de las acciones hacia notas del gobierno de EE.UU., el mercado de bonos del Tesoro de EE.UU. dependerá temporalmente menos de gobiernos extranjeros. No obstante, la carga sobre los extranjeros y sobre los ahorros del mundo de tener que financiar el consumo estadounidense, las guerras del gobierno de EE.UU. y su presupuesto militar, y el rescate financiero de EE.UU. es resentida cada vez más.

Este resentimiento, combinado con el daño hecho a la reputación de EE.UU. por la crisis financiera, ha llevado a numerosos llamados a favor de un nuevo orden financiero en el que EE.UU. juegue un papel de importancia sustancialmente menor. “Superar la crisis financiera” son las palabras clave para el resto de la intención del mundo de derrocar la hegemonía financiera de EE.UU.

Brasil, Rusia, India y China han formado un nuevo grupo (BRIC) para coordinar sus intereses en la cumbre financiera de noviembre en Washington, D.C.

El 28 de octubre, RIA Novosti informó que el primer ministro ruso, Vladimir Putin, sugirió a China que los dos países utilicen sus propias divisas en su comercio bilateral, evitando así el uso del dólar. El primer ministro de China, Wen Jiabao, respondió que el fortalecimiento de las relaciones bilaterales es estratégico.

Europa también ha notificado que se propone ejercer un nuevo papel de liderazgo. Cuatro miembros del Grupo de Siete naciones industriales: Francia, Gran Bretaña, Alemania e Italia, utilizaron la crisis financiera para pedir reformas globales del sistema financiero mundial. Jose Manual Barroso, presidente de la Comisión Europea, dijo que un nuevo sistema financiero mundial es posible sólo “si Europa tiene un rol de liderazgo.”

El presidente ruso, Dmitry Medvedev, dijo que el “egoísmo económico” de la “visión unipolar del mundo” de EE.UU. es una “política sin porvenir.”

Las masivas reservas de divisas extranjeras de China y su fuerte posición en la manufactura han dado a China el papel dirigente en Asia. El primer ministro adjunto de Tailandia, llamó recientemente al yuan chino “la legítima y ungida moneda convertible del mundo.”

Normalmente, los chinos se muestran muy circunspectos en lo que dicen, pero el 24 de octubre, Reuters informó que el People’s Daily, el periódico oficial del gobierno, en un comentario en primera plana, acusó a EE.UU. de saquear “la riqueza global mediante la explotación de la dominación del dólar.” Para corregir esta situación inaceptable, el comentario llamaba a que los países asiáticos y europeos “proscribieran el dólar de sus relaciones comerciales directas, basándose sólo en sus propias monedas.” Y este paso, dijo el comentario, es sólo un primer paso para el derrocamiento de la dominación del dólar.

Los chinos están expresando otros pensamientos que merecerían la atención de un gobierno estadounidense menos iluso y arrogante. Zhou Jiangong, editor de la publicación en línea, Chinastates.com, preguntó recientemente: “¿Por qué debiera China ayudar interminablemente a EE.UU. a hacer deudas en la creencia de que el crédito nacional de EE.UU. puede expandir sin límite?”

La solución de Zhou Jiangong para los excesos estadounidenses es que China se haga cargo de Wall Street.

China tiene el dinero para hacerlo, y los prudentes chinos harían un mejor trabajo que la multitud de ladrones que han destruido la reputación financiera de EE.UU. mientras explotaban al mundo a la busca de bonificaciones multimillonarias en dólares.

* Paul Craig Roberts fue secretario adjunto del Tesoro en el gobierno de Ronald Reagan. Asimismo, fue redactor jefe asociado del Wall Street Journal, en su sección de editoriales, durante 16 años columnista de Business Week, y columnista de Scripps Howard News Service and Creator’s Syndicate en Los Angeles. Ha ocupado numerosas cátedras universitarias, incluyendo la Cátedra William E. Simon Chair en Economía Política, Centro de Estudios Estratégicos e Internacionales, Universidad de Georgetown e Investigador Invitado Sénior, Hoover Institution, Universidad Stanford. Fue condecorado con la Legión de Honor por el Presidente de Francia y con la Medalla de Plata del Tesoro de EE.UU. por “sobresalientes contribuciones a la formulación de la política económica de EE.UU.” Es co-autor de “The Tyranny of Good Intentions.” Para contactos, escriba a: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

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Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, RUSSIA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

GADHAFI VISITS MOSCOW TODAY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

GADHAFI VISITS MOSCOW TODAY

date: 31 10, 2008

MOSCOW, OCT 31 (BNA) THE LIBYAN LEADER MOAMMAR GADHAFI IS SET TO ARRIVE IN RUSSIA FOR Mu'ammer Muhammad al QaddafiTALKS EXPECTED TO FOCUS ON BOOSTING ENERGY TIES AND THE ARMS TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO COLD WAR ALLIES REVEALED AP TODAY.

THE KREMLIN SAYS GADHAFI WILL ARRIVE ON A THREE-DAY VISIT TODAY.

RUSSIA HAS MOVED EARLIER THIS YEAR TO BOLSTER RELATIONS WITH LIBYA, AGREEING TO WRITE OFF 4.5 BILLION IN LIBYA’S DEBT FOR SOVIET-ERA ARMS SUPPLIES IN EXCHANGE FOR LUCRATIVE BUSINESS DEALS.

VLADIMIR PUTIN VISITED LIBYA IN APRIL WHEN HE WAS STILL RUSSIAS PRESIDENT.

PUTIN, NOW PRIME MINISTER, PRESIDED OVER THE SIGNING OF A 2.2 BILLION EURO CONTRACT FOR STATE-OWNED RUSSIAN RAILWAYS IN LIBYA.

RUSSIAS STATE GAS MONOPOLY GAZPROM HAS ALSO STRUCK A DEAL TO DEVELOP SIX OIL AND GAS FIELDS IN LIBYA.

HS/ 31-OCT-2008 12:26

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Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LYBIA, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATURAL GAS, PETROL, RUSSIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »