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News summary for March 21

March 22, 2013, 9:25 UTC+3
All the headlines from the day's news
1 pages in this article

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin expects that Russia-European Union trade may shortly reach 500 billion dollars. “Europe remains Russia’s biggest economic partner, and the level of our trade has exceeded 410 billion dollars,” the president said at talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. “I believe that within the coming few years we may achieve a growth in trade up to 500 billion dollars,” he said.

 

MOSCOW – At a government session on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came up with a proposal to think about creating an offshore zone in Russia’s Far East. “Maybe we should think about creating an offshore zone in the Far East,” he said at the government session. “We have a lot of good places there – Sakhalin, Kurils,” he added.

 

MOSCOW – The volume of funding of the Russian state-funded program for the development of Russia’s Far East will exceed 10 trillion roubles, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a government meeting on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – Unsolved visa problems are one of the barriers to move human capital assets to the EU countries from Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday. Speaking at conference devoted to Russia-EU partnership, Medvedev said, “Unfortunately, we can’t solve the visa problem. This is one of the barriers to move human capital assets. It hampers entrepreneurship and scientific and cultural contacts.”

 

MOSCOW – Russia highly appreciates the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping has chosen Moscow as the venue of his first foreign trip, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – A deepening of cooperation between Russia and the European Union must not be put on the back burner, as this can tell negatively on both sides, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Russia-European Union conference on partnership opportunities on Thursday.

 

BEIJING – The first foreign visit to Russia by Chinese leader Xi Jinping proves the country’s readiness to develop relations between the two countries, said Wu Enyuan, senior research worker of the Institute for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

 

MOSCOW – Moscow hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel will give a new impetus to the process of negotiations of the Middle East Quartet, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW Russia regards BRICS as a non-military bloc but expects to strengthen international security through this associatios, says a Concept for RF Participation in BRICS (which brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The Concept has been approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

MOSCOW – The BRICS group does not refuse for the idea for a broader introduction of the national currencies in mutual settlements that makes part of a long-term policy, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW Lawmakers at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament asked Prosecutor General Yuri Chika, Interior Ministry Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Federal Tax Service director Mikhail Mishustin to check tax payments by the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets /MK/ and a number of its employees.

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s Gazprombank is not conducting any talks at the moment on acquiring businesses in Cyprus, the bank’s first deputy president, Yekaterina Trofimova, said on the Vesti-24 television news channel. She explained that the Cypriot authorities were initiating rumors about the bank’s involvement in some projects with the aim to show that the country’s government has alternatives (to the terms proposed by the EU).

 

MOSCOW – The Libyan scenario in Syria would be a big strategic mistake, Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said on Thursday. “If this is political pressure, it can hardly help. If this is seriously done, it is much worse. This would be a big strategic mistake,” Chirzhov stressed.

 

MOSCOW  Investigators have brought new charges of false denunciation against State Duma lawmaker aide Leonid Razvozzhayev, who is also accused of planning riots in Russia, the press service of the Investigative Committee /SK/ told Itar-Tass on Thursday. "He has denied his guilt and refused to answer the investigator's questions," the SK said.

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry believes that the Russian automobile market this year will be no smaller than in 2012, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told the media on Thursday. “I hope that the growth rate will be the same as it was in 2012. I do hope it will not go down,” he said.

 

ASTANA – Kazakhstan has significantly increased the volume of non-oil and gas exports to the Customs Union (CU) countries against the background of reduction in the supplies of coal and petroleum products, Minister for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Andrei Slepnev, quoted by local media, said on Thursday at a meeting of the Advisory Council on the EEC interaction with the business communities of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

 

ASHGABAT – President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is satisfied with the progress of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. “This is a major project that requires phased development, and we are pleased that it is developing properly,” Berdymukhamedov was quoted by the press service of the state in Thursday’s comments on his meetings with the Presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan - Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai on Wednesday.

 

MOSCOW – Film director Nikita Mikhalkov reelected chairman of the Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation on Thursday regards turning the union into a state-public organization as “an interesting contemporary partnership.” He thus commented to reporters on the initiative Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky made at the ninth congress of cinematographers.

 

KALININGRAD – Service of a famed marine brigade of Russia’s Baltic Fleet, which is one of the five major territorial divisions of the Navy, will take part in the international antipiracy operation off the shores of the Horn of Africa, Andrei Bespaly, a press officer at Russia’s Western Military District told Itar-Tass.

 

HANOI – The Russian Embassy in Indonesia confirmed the death of a famous Russian painter Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe on the Indonesian island Bali, press attach· of the Russian Embassy Dmitry Solodov told Itar-Tass by phone from Jakarta.

 

MOSCOW Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in his remarks at a government meeting here on Thursday, said he would chair a meeting of the State Commission on the Development of the Far East in Yakutsk early in April.

 

GORKI – Russia is still waiting for proposals from the European Union on the abolition of the visa regime. Russia is negotiating only on its own behalf and not on behalf of the Union of Russia and Belarus, RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the European media.

 

MOSCOW – Cyprus will most likely be discussed at the upcoming summit of the BRICS group of nations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday. “I cannot rule out the possibility of this issue coming under discussion in Durban,” he said. “I hesitate to predict anything, the issue is so serious and urgent, that all interested parties look into it in real-time mode, and we are still several days away from the BRICS summit,” he said.

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s participation in the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is strategically important. The association has global scale, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a news briefing in Moscow on Thursday. “BRICS is not a bloc or association for cooperation of military-political nature,” Ryabkov said, adding that economic and financial issues would enjoy priority.

 

MOSCOW – Russia wants to see the BRICS group as an instrument for the coordination of the positions on the vital issues of world politics and economy, but not as a dialogue forum, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a press briefing here on Thursday. The Russian diplomat noted that Russia has already put forward or “will put forward soon” appropriate initiatives over the work of the union.

 

MOSCOW – The BRICS group does not accept the policy of a forcible pressure and the encroachment on the sovereignty of other countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – The outlook for creating a BRICS bank will be clear within days, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday. “We are on the threshold of making an official decision on that score,” he said. “There will be clarity on the issue within several days from now.”

 

MOSCOW To all appearances, the United States is ready to continue a dialogue on missile defense with Russia, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “We have received from the American side in Geneva certain technicalities concerning that, and our specialists will study them,” Ryabkov said.

 

MOSCOW – It is wrong to talk about the isolation of Russia in Europe, Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said on Thursday. “Millions of different things link Russia with Europe. These are not only pipelines but also contacts between people and businessmen,” Ryabkov said.

 

MOSCOW – Moscow hopes that the external players are aware of the danger of the situation in Syria, provoked by the extremists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich stated on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – EU’s Eastern partnership format, which envisions enlarged collaboration with several former Soviet republics located in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus but does not embrace Russia, is currently going through a rather knotty phase of development, Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian ambassador to the EU told reporters Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – The Russian oil major LUKOIL has not been harmed by the banking crisis in Cyprus, its president, Vagit Alekperov, told the media. Asked about whether the company was sustaining financial losses, Alekperov was brief. “No.”

 

MOSCOW – Russia is ready to continue dialogue with the sections of the Syrian political opposition that remain interested in a political settlement in the country but it scarcely has any subjects for discussion with oppositionist prime minister of the so-called interim government, Alexander Lukashevich, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said Thursday.

 

MOSCOW Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said it is necessary to implement the Geneva agreements on Syria instead of discussing the Geneva Dialogue’s participants. “While forming membership of the Geneva meeting, Russia insisted on involving such serious players as Iran and Saudi Arabia. At the time our proposal was not adopted,” Lukashevich said.

 

MOSCOW – Russia is ready to continue dialogue with the sections of the Syrian political opposition that remain interested in a political settlement in the country but it scarcely has any subjects for discussion with oppositionist prime minister of the so-called interim government, Alexander Lukashevich, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman said Thursday.

 

MINSK – Minsk is not planning to put the agreement on local border traffic with Poland into effect due to the tough anti-Belarusian position, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told journalists on Thursday. “The agreement with Poland is not planning to be put into effect due to the tough anti-Belarusian position that the Polish government takes,” Savinykh said.

 

TBILISI – Georgia’s delegation will hold talks with the leadership of the Russian Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control in Moscow on April 2 to discuss the resumption of Georgian agricultural products supplies to Russia, officials of the National Food Agency told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

 

TBILISI – Georgia has accepted the EU invitation to participate in peacekeeping and other operations under the EU auspices, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told the Defense and Security Committee in Kutaisi on Thursday.

 

MINSK The foreign ministries of Belarus and Sweden have intensified contacts on the problem of the resumption of the work of the Swedish embassy in Minsk, press-secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus Andrei Savinykh told journalists on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW Lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov said he has taken a polygraph test to prove that he wrote the text of his report in the United States on his own and that he did not ask anyone to edit it.

 

MOSCOW The Investigative Committee confirmed that searches are underway at the Ministry of Education and Science within the framework of a criminal case against former rector of State University of Management Viktor Kozbanenko, accused of taking a large bribe.

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hopes that Russia and the European Commission will be able to establish fruitful cooperation within the Group of Twenty. He said it at the talks with the visiting President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

 

NICOSIA – Cyprus is starting restructuring its banking sector to prevent a default and protect deposits worth up to 100,000 euro, the head of the Central Bank of Cyprus said.

 

BERLIN Russia and Germany are going to exchange top level visits soon, Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the Russian Federation Council, told journalists on Thursday. “The Russian president is to visit Germany and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is to pay a visit to Russia soon,” Matvienko, who’s staying on an official visit in Berlin, said.

 

MOSCOW – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul Russia met on Thursday to discuss political contacts between Russia and the United States, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported after the talks. “They discussed urgent items of the bilateral agenda, including the forthcoming political contacts and a number of international problems,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

 

MOSCOW – Russia hopes to preserve the full continuity of strategic partnership with China, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday. “We hope to preserve the continuity of strategic partnership with China completely,” Ryabkov said in comments on an upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Russian capital.

 

MOSCOW – Progress has been achieved at the Russian-U.S. talks on the Nunn-Lugar Program, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists on Thursday. The diplomat recalled that he had held talks with U.S. Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller. The talks also focused on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, he said.

 

MOSCOW – Russia and the EU are to harmonise their positions on Syria, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at a conference in Moscow on Thursday. “We continue our cooperation in international affairs, on Iran, concerning the Middle East settlement,” he said. “We have to bring together our positions on Syria, the duty of the international community is to resolve this crisis.”

 

MOSCOW – Situation in the financially troubled Cyprus will not affect the indicators reflecting the inflow and outflow of capital in Russia, the Deputy Minister of Economics, Andrei Klepach told Itar-Tass. The latest events in Cyprus will most likely exert impact only on the destinations, to which the monies flow but not on the balance of the influx and outflow, he said.

 

UNITED NATIONS Russia has offered the United Nations its help in investigation of reports on the chemical attack in Syria, Russian Ambassador to United Nations Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Thursday.

 

MOSCOW – The CIS economic integration is an imperative of our time, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said in Moscow on Thursday. In his speech at “Russia-European Union: Partnership and its Potential” international conference, Denisov spoke about the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, which is supposed to unite Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as well as a number of CIS integration structures. The process is to be completed by 2015.

 

MOSCOW A bill that bans the use of foul language in literature, art and the mass aroused no objections in the Russian government, but the government has asked the authors of the bill to specify a concrete meaning of the term "foul language", the government said in its comment available on its official website.

 

MOSCOW   The Russian Ministry of Defense denied the reports that Russian warships will not tank up in Syria's Tartus and that they have been redirected to Lebanon's Beirut to resupply.

 

MOSCOW Ministry of Education and Science personnel are being checked for involvement in the criminal case over bribe taking by former rector of the State University of Management Viktor Kozbenko, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

 

VILNIUS – Lithuania is working on two scenarios its energy sector may follow in the near future. One implies building a new Visaginas nuclear power plant and the other excludes such a possibility, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algidras Butkevicius on Thursday told the Seimas (the parliament) on the occasion of the government’s 100 days in office.

 

CHISINAU Dirk Schuebel, the head of the European Union delegation in Moldova, on Thursday urged the Moldovan authorities to lift the last year ban on Communist symbols that was imposed last year.

 

CHISINAU - The European Union has promised to facilitate the visa regime with Moldova after it has settled the Dniester conflict. The EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told journalists on Thursday that Brussels had recently received a report on EU progress within its Eastern Partnership program.

 

TBILISI - The Georgian parliament on Thursday voted for an amendment to the Georgian Constitution on limitation of presidential powers. The bill “On Amendments to the Constitution of Georgia” was considered and passed in the first reading at a plenary session in Kutaisi. The debate lasted for about four hours. All the 135 deputies who were present at the session voted for the amendment.

 

KIEV – Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich has made a demand to Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov that work should be stepped up on a bill permitting the privatization of printed media.

 

BERLIN – Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday discussed prospects of introduction of a non-visa regime between Russia and the European Union. Matvienko hopes the first set of EU-Russia visa problems will soon be solved.

 

MOSCOW – More than 380 events are entered in the itinerary of the Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia, Dmitry Amunts, the director of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism told a news conference Thursday on the occasion of the start of the Year Friday, March 21.

 

 

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