Thursday, August 21, 2008

Global Chess

1. Russia Suspends Military Ties With NATO

Russia has informed Norway that it plans to suspend all military ties with NATO, Norway’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

The report comes a day after NATO foreign ministers said they would make further ties with Russia dependent on Moscow making good on a pledge to pull its troops back to pre-conflict positions in Georgia. However, they stopped short of calling an immediate halt to all cooperation.

The Nordic country’s embassy in Moscow received a telephone call from “a well-placed official in the Russian Ministry of Defense,” who said Moscow plans “to freeze all military cooperation with NATO and allied countries,” Espen Barth Eide, state secretary with the Norwegian ministry said.

Eide told The Associated Press that the Russian official notified Norway it will receive a written note about this soon. He said Norwegian diplomats in Moscow would meet Russian officials on Thursday morning to clarify the implications of the freeze.

“It is our understanding that other NATO countries will receive similar notes,” Eide said. The ministry said the Russian official is known to the embassy, but Norway declined to provide a name or any further identifying information.

A Kremlin official declined to comment on the report. But the Interfax news agency, citing what it called a military-diplomatic source in Moscow whom it did not identify, reported that Russia is reviewing its 2008 military cooperation plans with NATO.

Officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels said Moscow had not informed the alliance it was taking such a step.

Washington described the reported move as unfortunate.

Source - Guardian

2. Russian Base In Syria?

The Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is ready to head from Murmansk towards the Mediterranean and the Syrian port of Tartus. The mission comes after Syrian President Bashar Assad said he is open for a Russian base in the area. The “Admiral Kuznetsov”, part of the Northern Fleet and Russia’s only aircraft carrier, will head a Navy mission to the area. The mission will also include the missile cruiser “Moskva” and several submarines, reports.

President Assad in meetings in Moscow this week expressed support to Russia’s intervention in South Ossetia and Georgia. He also expressed interest in the establishment of Russian missile air defence facilities on his land.

The “Admiral Kuznetsov” also last year headed a navy mission to the Mediterranean. Then, on the way from the Kola Peninsula and south, it stopped in the North Sea where it conducted a navy training exercise in the immediate vicinity of Norwegian offshore installations.

Source - Macedonia Online


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