Medvedev has announced that Moscow plans to hold a Middle East peace conference before the end of 2009, an idea supported by Egypt. In a meeting with the League of Arab States, Medvedev commented that the peace process might result in an independent Palestine with the capital in East Jerusalem. The BBC comments on the motivation for the trip: ‘in terms of influence, Russia lags far behind China and the US – not just in Egypt but right across the African continent’. The Times examines Soviet-era relations with Africa, facilitated by communist ideals in the continent: will the President be able to resuscitate the same interaction with profit-seeking in mind?
Sergei Lavrov has denied that Russia’s idea for a new ‘security architecture’ in Europe is hostile to NATO or Washington. A US State Department official has said it is unlikely that Russia’s complaints about missile defense will have an adverse effect on arms reduction negotiations. Lavrov has said that Russian opposition will hinder START talks. ‘Russia never does anything demonstratively’: Lavrov has downplayed open Kremlin support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The US will more than triple the rent it pays to continue using the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has argued that the EU and US are responsible for Russia’s decision to abandon its unilateral bid to enter the WTO.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov claims he has been authorized by Russia to ‘torture’ insurgents in Ingushetia. Reuters has key facts on the republic. Yulia Latynina comments on the departure of OSCE monitors in Georgia: ‘they are making another Russian-Georgian war more likely‘.
Russia’s justice system has fallen foul of a European human rights watchdog, commissioned by the Council of Europe, which claims that it has exercised ‘politically motivated abuses’, particularly in the case of Yukos and the Hermitage Fund. The report urges countries not to extradite people to Russia. RFE/RL reports on how national republics are resisting Russian demands that they omit references to ‘republic sovereignty‘ in their constitutions. Russian officials also have to watch their language; in the future they may be fined for using indecent or mispronounced words.
PHOTO:Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev walks with Secretary General of theArab League Amr Mussa during their meeting in Cairo, June 23, 2009. (REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Dmitry Astakhov)