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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 24, 2009

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TODAY: Russia relenting on Iran sanctions; calls missile defense decision constructive; arms reductions talks are apparently progressing apace; Medvedev urges for Middle East arms cuts tooIsland cooperation for Japan and Russia; Georgia undecided on Guantanamo guests; Poland – officially – condemns Soviet invasion. Moscow mayor doesn’t take criticism lightly.

President Medvedev has apparently agreed following talks with Barack Obama to consider sanctions if Iran does not agree to transparency about its nuclear program. ‘Sanctions rarely lead to productive results but in some cases are inevitable’, the Russian president has said.  ‘The sanctions Medvedev has in mind might fall far short of those that the White House are thinking of’, suggests a piece in the Guardian.  The turnaround is ‘a reward to President Barack Obama’s decision to scale back a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe’ argues an article in the New York Times.  Medvedev has again lauded the move on missile defence ‘as a constructive step in the right direction’.  ‘Other nuclear states should join the disarmament efforts of Russia and the United States’, Medvedev added, highlighting the necessity of the Middle East becoming a WMD-free zone.  Ria-Novosti reports that the new START treaty is apparently on schedule and likely to be ready before the current pact expires.  The US Embassy in Moscow has complained to the Russian Foreign Ministry about a fabricated sex tape that US officials call a ‘smear campaign’ against Kyle Hatcher, a married diplomatic liaison to Russian religious and human rights groups.


‘Russia is ready to discuss any problems, including the knottiest ones’: President Medvedev has pledged cooperation with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who hopes that the decades-long Kuril Islands dispute will be resolved ‘in our generation’.

According to the Moscow Times, Georgia has not made a decision yet on whether to accept a small number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, as relations between President Mikheil Saakashvili and Barack Obama are arguably threatened by Obama’s ‘reset’ with Moscow.

The Polish parliament has passed a resolution condemning the Soviet invasion at the start of World War Two.  Moscow has made its objections known.  President Medvedev put history on the agenda at the UN summit, apparently arguing that ‘a firm and collective response to signs of neo-Nazism and attempts to revise the results of World War II’, should be addressed by the UN. 

UNESCO has again called on Russia to put a stop to the building of the Gazprom tower in St Petersburg, saying that the looming corn-on-the-cob shaped commercial premiseswill damage the image of Russia’Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has filed a lawsuit against Right Cause party co-leader Leonid Gozman for libel, after Gozman argued that the mayor should be held responsible for corruption in the city.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Sept. 23, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)