Russia’s Putin says Syria violence could hit ex-Soviet bloc
His words appeared to be a warning about violence spreading from both Syria and Afghanistan, which shares a long border with CSTO member Tajikistan in Central Asia. BORDER ASSISTANCE Reiterating concerns violence could spread to former Soviet Central Asia and Russia after the pullout of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, he said CSTO nations agreed to draft a plan to protect the border. “We will provide additional collective assistance to Tajikistan to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan state border,” Putin said. He gave no details. Russian border guards used to patrol the Tajik frontier with Afghanistan but left in 2005. The CSTO security alliance also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus. Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan all have mostly Muslim populations. Central Asian states Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, neither members of CSTO, also have frontiers with Afghanistan. Russian officials have expressed concern that Russian-born militants fighting in Syria could return to Russia’s North Caucasus and join an insurgency that claims lives almost daily. Russia has been one of Syria’s strongest backers in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people since it began in March 2011, delivering arms to Assad’s forces and joining China in blocking Western-backed initiatives in the U.N. Security Council. Russia, which has echoed Assad’s contention that he is fighting al Qaeda-inspired Islamists rather than a popular revolt, has warned the West that military intervention in Syria would play into the hands of the militants. Backing Moscow, the CSTO nations issued a joint statement after the summit saying that military action or other foreign intervention in Syria was “unacceptable” and would be illegal if carried out without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.
“If they have a stronger economy, it will be a plus, but only if it is not achieved by making us weaker.” He denied Moscow was putting pressure on Kiev or drawing up plans to retaliate. But he also said Russia would have to act “if there is evidence of dumping or the use of hidden forms (of protectionism) such as support for exports, support for agricultural producers”. Shuvalov’s remarks made clear Moscow had not been appeased by Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who tried on Saturday to soothe Russian fears over planned agreements with the EU on political association and free trade. Azarov says Ukraine, whose economy is dominated by exports such as steel, chemicals and agricultural produce, would benefit almost immediately from lower duties on Ukrainian exports. Russian officials, led by President Vladimir Putin, say Ukraine has more to gain from joining a Customs Union grouping Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Moscow is also holding out against Ukraine’s pleas for cheaper Russian gas to help its hard-pressed economy. Moscow’s efforts to persuade Kiev not to move closer to the EU form part of a broader drive by Russia to deter former Soviet allies from edging out of its orbit and moving their economy and future trade towards western Europe. But Ukraine, a vast country with a population of 45 million and psychologically tied closely to Russia by history and shared culture, is the sorest point of contention. Shuvalov has played an important role in this drive in his government role overseeing relations with the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He said the Russia-led customs union would not suffer if Ukraine did not join, but its accession would create a trading bloc with a population of about 200 million. Reiterating that Kiev could not join the customs union if it signed the free trade pact, because the two were legally incompatible, he said: “It’s either one or the other.” The 28-nation EU, which includes eastern European countries that were for decades under Soviet control, has made clear it will not give in to what it called Russian attempts to limit the “sovereign choices” of Ukraine and other countries. Kiev still has one potential obstacle to overcome before any deals are signed with the EU – it has not bowed to pressure to release former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a political rival of President Viktor Yanukovich who was jailed for abuse of office and is seen by the EU as a victim of “selective justice.” But EU governments agreed in Brussels on Monday that, if they sign a political association agreement with Ukraine, they will speed up procedures for its implementation. Such agreements can take years to be ratified by member states but could now take immediate effect once Ukraine ratifies it, EU officials said. Ukraine’s economy relies heavily on exports of steel, coal, fuel and petroleum products, chemicals and grain.
Russia keen on investing $1bn in PSM: CEO
He said this during Federal Minister for Industries and Production Ghulam Murtaza Jatoias visit to the Steel Mills on Monday. Mehmood said that in the first phase, production would be increased to 1.5 million tonnes from the millsa capacity of 1.1m tonnes and to 3m tonnes in the second phase. The Steel Mills CEO further informed that the mill urgently needed Rs29 billion to procure raw materials and make other arrangements. He said the mill has to pay Rs17bn to the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC). He added that the Petroleum Ministry should help out PSM in paying the SSGC bill. The federal minister assured the workers and employees of PSM for early disbursement of August and September salaries. He said that he would review the proposals sent by the millsa chief executive for its expansion. He said that PSM faced a severe raw material shortage and added that he would make every effort to improve the performance of state-run unit. He urged the management to control unnecessary expenses and losses so that the mill could play its role in countryas economic development. The minister said the government would maintain the national asset as thousands of people and their families were directly and indirectly relying on its existence.
Russia To Ukraine: EU Or Us?
Russian presidential aide Sergei Glazyevs speech brushing off the advantages of free trade pact, giving fresh warning of higher custom duties to Ukrainian products as well as maintaining costly natural gas imported by Ukraine jarred with the earlier harsh expression of Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov over Russias firmness on expensive price of gas under 2009 contract. The refusal to amend the contract have put heavy burden to Ukraines importation of gas and, undoubtedly, have defined Russias attempt not only to push Ukraine on ditching the EU deals but likewise to persuade them in joining their custom union, to which Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are already part.To limit the dependency on Russian natural gas, Ukraine is exerting efforts to develop its own source of energy and establish partnership with Western companies for their technologies. Along with insults and demagoguery is Glazyevs challenge to Ukraine in losing billions of dollars from the Russian market that can result to a default of its economy. He then probed EUs capability in absorbing such backslash as it already has its own burden of providing emergency funds to its struggling members. Since summer, the prohibitions of confectionary products like those of Petro Poroshenkos, a confectionary magnate, in Russian stores and momentary restriction of Ukraine import at the Russian territory became a big setback to Ukraine enterprise. These retaliatory tactics of urging Ukraine to be on their side created reverse effects to President Viktor Yanukovychs foreign policy. On September 5, the parliament ratified five laws to make EU economic integration possible signifying its interest to change its reliance from Russia. To have economic expansion, signing the agreement with EU is pivotal step in protecting its already vulnerable macroeconomy because of low export demand in the international market. Adding to the burden is the downgraded rating of Moodys Investor Service to Ukraine from B3 to Caa1 due to economic downturn indicators and worsening relationship with Russia.Forming ties with the EU will give positive effects to Ukraine economy in the future, but will also immediately paralyze the economy for a short period once Russia carry out its threats. Presidential Adviser Sergei Glazyev opposed Ukraine-EU agreement. However, attach to the agreement is to free former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, convicted of fraud and embezzlement, from prison to have medical treatment in Germany. As the political rival of Yanukovych, Tymoshenko is believed to be the victim of selective justices whose verdict of 7 years imprisonment frustrates EU. Yanukovych have yet to give his final decision on this condition, but Ukraine will still fulfill its commitment to sign the accord on November 28. Petro Poroshenkos business of confectionery was affected by Russian economic sanction to Ukraine.