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Lima, Peru’s capital, will be hosting the upcoming summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum later this week, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes on Thursday. Russian, US, Chinese and Japanese leaders are expected to take part in it. The paradox is that until recently, few people, with the exception of some experts, knew of its existence, the paper notes. However, its role has grown after Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential race and in view of the possible demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal promoted by Washington and Tokyo. It cannot be ruled out that the Lima summit will give the green light to a trade association without the US.
However, Tokyo has not abandoned hopes that it will be possible to save the TPP. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is to stop over in New York on his way to Lima where he will try to convince the US president-elect to rethink his attitude towards this trade deal. Tokyo also favors continued a military alliance with Washington.
Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the paper that Tokyo regards US military presence, first and foremost, as a way of containing China’s activities in the East China and South China Seas and as a guarantee of its national security in light of the so-called Chinese threat. The expert recalled, however, that Japanese Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, noted some time ago that Tokyo has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons.
US President-elect, Donald Trump, is expected to visit Russia after his inauguration on January 20, since his advisers convinced him to postpone his visit until then, a high-ranking source in the Republican Party told Izvestia on condition of anonymity.
"After a discussion inside the team, it was decided to postpone the visit. Preparations for it will begin when President Trump assumes office," the source said.
On the other hand, US political scientist, Dmitry Simes, said in an interview with Izvestia that it is premature to say that Trump will visit Moscow soon. He recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held a telephone conversation a few days ago, adding that the two leaders were pleased with the talks. According to the expert, Trump’s visit to Russia before his inauguration could be construed as an attempt to hold important international negotiations behind the Obama administration’s back.
Meanwhile, an anonymous source in the US Republican Party informed the paper that at the moment there are no serious contacts between Russia and Trump’s team. "Neither Donald Trump, nor his team knew about the resumption of Russia’s military operation in Syria. At this stage, there are no serious contacts between Moscow and Trump’s team," he said.
The paper recalled that Trump visited Russia several times. He first visited Moscow in 1987 to promote his hotel business. His second trip took place in 1996. At that time, he planned to build an elite residential complex in the Russian capital. The billionaire last visited Russia in 2013 when he organized a Miss Universe beauty contest in Moscow.
Russia’s refusal to be a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not affect the fulfillment of obligations in this area and the prosecution of international crimes, according to experts interviewed by Kommersant.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier issued a decree to notify the UN Secretary General about Moscow’s intention not to ratify the treaty on joining the ICC set up in the Hague under UN auspices in 1998. Russia signed that treaty in 2000.
Professor of International Law, Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov, told the paper that Moscow’s refusal to be a party to the ICC is a forced step, since the ICC failed to become an effective legal body to administer justice within a reasonable period of time and without incurring excessive costs.
"A recent report by its prosecutor, which states that the developments in Crimea were an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, does not hold water," he stressed.
According to Gleb Bogush, an Assistant Professor at Moscow State University, Russia’s move in no way affects Moscow’s international obligations under the treaties, whose provisions are actually duplicated in the Rome Statute, and the observance of norms implying the obligation to prosecute international crimes and international cooperation in this field. Nor does it affect the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed during the conflict in Ukraine (irrespective of the defendants’ nationality).
The Free Syria Army backed by Turkey is getting ready for an offensive to oust militants of the Islamic State (terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) from the city of Al-Bab located 40 kilometers northeast of Aleppo, Izvestia writes. If the operation is a success, it will gain on the positions of the Syrian government forces.
Member of the Syrian parliament, Ashwaq Abbas, told the paper that Damascus is confident that the Syrian armed forces will be able to fend off the enemy’s possible attacks in northeastern Aleppo. "The Syrian army has been battling the militants for more than five years now and is ready to repel any attacks. As for the so-called moderate opposition advancing from Al-Bab, clashes between armed groups and government forces can be expected. However, the militants are unlikely to make any gains. Developments in the Al-Bab area should be seen primarily as an attempt to divert attention from the operation to liberate Aleppo and subsequent actions to destroy the armed groups in the provinces of Homs and Idlib," Abbas explained.
Meanwhile, Syrian strategy and geopolitics expert, Hassan Hassan, informed Izvestia that the Syrian armed forces are prepared to fight against the Free Syrian Army. "The advance of any armed units whose activities are not coordinated with the Syrian authorities is considered an act of aggression and a violation of this country’s sovereignty," he stressed. "We make no distinction between IS militants and gunmen from other extremist groups. It is the duty of the government in Damascus to counter them, either with their own forces or with the help of its allies."
Russia’s truck manufacturer, Kamaz, will supply 2,400 vehicles to Cuba, with the first batch to be delivered in late November, Vedomosti writes citing a source in the company. A Kamaz representative informed the paper that the customer turns out to be the Cuban government. However, he declined to disclose the contract value. He noted that all vehicles will be delivered within a few months during 2016 and 2017.
The Kamaz representative said that the plant could organize truck assembly in Cuba with a capacity of 1,000 vehicles per year during the first stage.
Most that will be dispatched to Cuba (about 70%) are trucks, while the rest will be trailers. In all, Kamaz will supply nearly 1,700 trucks to Cuba, which is quite a large contract for it. In 2015, the Russian truck manufacturer supplied 6,600 trucks abroad, and it’s planning to sell about 7,000 abroad this year.
Kamaz, just like other Russian automakers, is building up its export base due to falling demand in the Russian market.
For example, 70,996 commercial vehicles were sold domestically in the first half of 2016 compared to 186,119 in the first half of 2012, according to data provided by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.
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