SANCTIONS DO NOT SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 10, 2000, p. 3
At a ceremony yesterday to mark the arrival of several new foreign ambassadors, President Putin declared that Russia demands the lifting of all sanctions on Iraq. The president noted: “Russia’s position has a lot of support in the UN.” According to Putin, Russia “considers political and diplomatic methods to be the only way of resolving existing differences.”
KALYUZHNY ON SHARING THE CASPIAN SEA
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 10, 2000, p. 3
Russia cannot agree to a sector partition of the Caspian Sea. This statement was made by Victor Kalyuzhny, special presidential envoy and deputy foreign minister, at an international conference on development of Caspian energy resources which opened on November 9 in Baku.
According to Kalyuzhny, the creation of state borders in the Caspian Sea would require a reconsideration of the system for its development. This, in turn, would create a lot of new problems, including territorial disputes.
Kalyuzhny noted that Russia proposes to use the principle of partitioning the seabed, not the waters. He said: “We should not divide the territory, just the deposits and promising areas for oil and gas exploration.”
THE VISIT WHICH NEVER HAPPENED
Tribuna, November 10, 2000, p. 3
According to unofficial reports, a visit by a Russian delegation to Iraq has fallen through because of misunderstandings between various departments.
Members of the delegation, headed by Dundukov the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, were to participate in the Baghdad trade fair, an annual exhibition of foreign goods in Iraq organized by the UN.
According to certain reports, on the eve of the visit Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov and asked him to cancel the visit of the Russian delegation to Iraq. Before this conversation, the foreign minister suspended preparations for the visit.
The prime minister asked Sergei Ivanov, secretary of the Security Council, to assist in sorting out this situation. But nothing could be done – because, as it turned out, Iraq had not received an official acceptance of its invitation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
To explain these actions (or rather, inaction) of the Foreign Ministry, Igor Ivanov said that the visit would have violated UN sanctions against Iraq.
VLADIMIR PUTIN IN ROSTOV-ON-DON
Trud, November 10, 2000, p. 1
President Vladimir Putin showed during his one-day working visit to Rostov-on-Don last Wednesday that he intends to investigate the plight of Russian regions personally…
The Southern federal district has many problems. Putin said: “The average citizen in the Southern district is worse off than in other Russian regions.”
The president can see only one solution to this problem: a federal program for the development of the district as a whole, to 2005. As Putin said, “we won’t achieve anything by tackling each region in isolation.”
DUMA DEBATES BILL ON POLITICAL PARTIES
Izvestia, November 10, 2000, p. 3
On November 9 the Duma debated several versions of the bill on political parties. But it’s not clear which option President Putin will prefer.
As a result, there are now four versions of the bill; written by the Duma committee for social organizations, Unity (Alexander Chuev), Yabloko (Alexander Shilov), and a working group of the Central Election Commission.
The version written by the Central Election Commission is the toughest. Although Duma members were unfazed by its proposed requirement for parties to have 10,000 members before they can participate in parliamentary elections, they were alarmed because according to this draft, the creation of a new party will take about two or three years.
DISPUTES OVER A MOSQUE
Izvestia, November 10, 2000, p. 1 EV
Representatives of the Cossacks, the Communist party and the clergy of Taganrog think that opening a mosque in the city of Taganrog will increase the threat of Wahhabi fundamentalism spreading to the region. They have expressed their fears in letters to Victor Kazantsev, presidential envoy for the Southern federal district, and to President Vladimir Putin.
The regional government comments on the situation in Taganrog as follows: “The mosque should be set up legally. Muslim communities have the right to restore mosques.” It seems that the authorities do not know what to do in this situation.
Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, who recently visited the Rostov region, presented Archbishop Panteleimon of Rostov and Novocherkassk and Mufti Jafar Bikmaev with watches, as a token of appreciation for preventing religious conflicts in the region. The gift has a hidden meaning: synchronize your watches and try to reach an agreement. But if they should start to diverge, the federal government will intervene.