ONLY RUSSIA CAN SETTLE THE CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST

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ONLY RUSSIA CAN SETTLE THE CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 18, 2000, p. 1

According to Yegor Stroev, speaker of the Russian Duma, it is impossible to settle the conflict in the Middle East without Russia. Stroev points out that a considerable part of the Israeli population are Russian immigrants. However, many issues are currently being discussed behind closed doors, and Russia has not been allowed to participate in the negotiations. The fate of the world, and of humanity as a whole, is now being decided in the Middle East; and only Russia’s participation in the talks can extinguish the fire of the local war between the Palestinians and Israel. Besides, says Stroev, Arabs are greatly interested in having Russia participate in the peace talks.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE MIR SPACE STAION?

Trud, October 18, 2000, p. 1

Yesterday the Progress M-43 cargo spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur space center, heading for the Mir space station. Progress M-43 will have to increase the orbit height of the rapidly descending 135-ton Mir, in order to avoid an uncontrolled descent to Earth (if solar activity is extremely high, this could happen in late December). However, the fate of the Mir space station is still unclear. Russia can’t afford to keep it in operation ($200 million a year is required); and the station is likely to plummet into the sea in February 2001. Today, Rosaviacomplex (Russian Aerospace) will discuss this complicated issue at a meeting. Later the suggestions from the meeting will be sent to the Cabinet. The president and the Cabinet will have to make the final decision.

TRESSPASSER VESSEL WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR THE CHASE

Izvestia, October 18, 2000, p. 2

Last Sunday a Turkish ship was arrested while trying to evade a Russian patrol. It is now safely secured near the Kerch Strait.

The Russian Border Guard Service has presented the owner of the ship with a bill for 317,425 rubles to cover the cost of pursuit and detention. Besides, according to the North Caucasus regional border guard division, the ship owner will have to pay all port, anchor, and lighthouse duties for a 12-day anchorage in the port of Novorossiisk, which amounts to over $14,500. Finally, the owner will have to spend a lot of money on repairs: since the Border Guards had to open fire on the vessel, there are large holes in its hull.

BEREZOVSKY DENIES ANY CONTACTS WITH AEROFLOT

Izvestia, October 18, 2000, p. 2

Yesterday, Alexander Filin, major crimes investigator with the General Prosecutor’s Office, questioned notorious tycoon Boris Berezovsky about the Aeroflot case.

After being interrogated for one-and-a-half hours, the businessman told journalists that his status in the Aeroflot case is still the same: he is a witness. According to him, Filin was very polite and tactful, and asked questions only about the Swiss Andava company. It should be remembered that according to the General Prosecutor’s Office, over $400 million of Aeroflot’s foreign assets have been transferred to the accounts of Andava. Berezovsky once again declared that he had never had anything to do with Aeroflot. According to him, “it is a purely political case. First Prime Minister Primakov tried to blackmail me with the help of the Prosecutor’s Office; now President Putin.”

Yesterday Berezovsky revealed the identity of the person to whom he has offered the top post in the Teletrust company, created to manage Berezovsky’s stake in the ORT television network, which Berezovsky has transferred to the management of a group of media professionals. It is Viktor Kurlyandsky, a professional financier, former head of the state securities department of the Obyiedinenny Bank.

CHECHEN GUERRILLAS SURRENDER TO KADYROV

Izvestia, October 18, 2000, p. 3

Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the provisional government in Chechnya, continues his efforts to win over rebel field commanders and their troops to the side of the federal authorities. Yesterday Kadyrov announced that six guerrilla detachments are ready to lay down their arms and return to a life of peace.

It is not clear what will happen to the separatists who have believed Kadyrov and are ready to surrender voluntarily. To be more precise, it is not clear what their status in Chechnya will be. It is not ruled out that these guerrillas who have been through the partisan war will join the personal security guards of the head of the provisional government.

The participation of Vladimir Borovik, deputy presidential envoy for the Southern federal district, in the peace talks with field commanders is a guarantee that neither the guerrillas nor the weapons they hand over will disappear and later surface in some other armed formation.

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