First Pirates, Now Junkies? Russia To Up Charges Against Greenpeace.

Russia, U.S. agree on how Syria should eliminate chemical arms – Putin

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens during their meeting in Moscow, May 7, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool By Alexei Anishchuk NUSA DUA, Indonesia | Tue Oct 8, 2013 5:45pm BST NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Russia and the United States agree on how to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President (Barack) Obama is occupying this position (on chemical arms),” Putin told reporters at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. International experts charged with starting the process of verifying and eliminating chemical weapons arrived in Syria earlier this month. Russia, Syria’s long-time ally and arms supplier, has offered to assist with the demolition process. Putin said he believed experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would be able to accomplish their goal of ridding Syria of its chemical arms within a year. “We and the Americans, the whole international community trust them,” he said. “If they are saying it is possible to do this (eliminate Syria’s chemical arms) in one year, then that’s the way it is.” The team of experts, supported by the United Nations, aim to oversee destruction of the Syria’s chemical weapons production and mixing equipment by November 1, and deal with all chemical weapons materials by the end of June 2014.

US, Russia Want Clarity on Iran Nuclear Issue

Investigators searching the captured Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, say they have found unspecified articles of “dual purpose” and opiate-based narcotics. RECOMMENDED: Do you know anything about Russia? A quiz. “It is clear that a number of defendants will also be charged with other serious crimes,” the statement quotes Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin as saying. The 30 people arrested aboard the Greenpeace ship in Russia’s economic zone but not in legal territorial waters on Sept. 19 include people from 18 different countries, at least one of whom is a journalist . The issue has led to an escalating diplomatic spat between Russia and the Netherlands over the activities of the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise, with Russia claiming the Dutch government failed to “intervene in the vessel’s illegal activities.” For its part, the Netherlands has threatened to contest the “illegal” Russian seizure of the ship and its crew at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg. The Russo-Dutch acrimony reached a peak Tuesday after Moscow demanded an explanation for the weekend arrest and alleged mistreatment of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands, Dmitry Borodin, who was reportedly suspected by Dutch police of child abuse. “Russia continues to await exhaustive explanations, if these are even possible, and real apologies from the Netherlands,” for ignoring Mr. Borodin’s diplomatic immunity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement . The Dutch foreign ministry released a statement on Wednesday apologizing for the violation of Borodin’s immunity, though it noted that “the police officers concerned were acting in accordance with their professional responsibility in responding to a reported situation.” Greenpeace insists that the threatened drug charges against crew members of the Arctic Sunrise are part of a campaign of slander against its activists rather than a genuine legal process. “The Investigative Committee is behaving like a tabloid of the yellow press,” says Greenpeace-Russia spokesperson Anton Beneslavsky. “There are no charges, yet they put out this information without any evidence or facts.

Russia Says Drugs Seized on Greenpeace Ship as New Charges Loom

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia) that Iran likely wants “more clarity” about the way forward. “Iran probably wants more clarity,” Lavrov said. “More specific steps to be spelled out on the road to the result which we all want to achieve. And I think this will be discussed next week in Geneva, a meeting to which Iran agreed. And to which Iran and three plus three are getting ready in a very constructive mood, as our contacts in New York show.” Kerry said the United States is encouraged by Iran’s recent outreach efforts, but that actions, and not words, are what will make a difference. “So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful,” Kerry said. “And we have made it clear that if there are those indicators, the United States and our allies are absolutely prepared to move in appropriate ways to meet their actions. Kerry said Iran has not responded to an offer the P5+1 group made earlier this year, which called for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and halt enrichment at one of its nuclear facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that offer was no longer valid, and that the P5+1 should come to next week’s negotiations with a “new point of view.” Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes and wants the international community to lift a range of sanctions imposed for its refusal to halt enrichment activity. The possible threat of a ballistic missile strike from countries like Iran has led the United States to plan a missile shield in Europe. Russia disagrees with the move, saying the system could neutralize its own strategic missile force and leave it vulnerable to the West.

9 (Bloomberg) — Russia said it found drugs on a Greenpeace ship, warning it may file more serious charges against some of the groups activists already facing as long as 15 years in jail for alleged piracy during an Arctic protest. Investigators are also trying to determine who among the campaigners was responsible for trying to ram into Russias Coast Guard craft, endangering the life of officials, the Investigative Committee said in a website statement today. The detention of 28 activists and two journalists from 18 countries has provoked a diplomatic row as the Netherlands seeks to force Russia to release the Dutch-registered ship and its crew through international arbitration. Two Greenpeace protesters scaled OAO Gazprom s Prirazlomnoye rig in the Pechora Sea on Sept. 18. A day later Russias Coast Guard boarded the groups Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters and towed the vessel to Murmansk. We can only assume the Russian authorities are referring to the medical supplies that our ships are obliged to carry under maritime law, Greenpeace said in an e-mailed statement. The ship was first searched by Russian officers weeks ago, they scoured every corner of it, so we assume this announcement is designed to deflect attention from the growing global outrage over the continued imprisonment of the detainees. Adding to the tensions with the Netherlands, President Vladimir Putin yesterday demanded a Dutch apology after police arrested a Russian diplomat in The Hague and allegedly beat him in front of his family, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. The Netherlands today said the envoys diplomatic immunity had been violated and offered its apologies over the incident, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Arctic Sunrise Two citizens of the Netherlands are among the Greenpeace activists in custody in the port city of Murmansk and their boat, Arctic Sunrise, is Dutch-registered. The countrys authorities said Oct. 4 that they had started arbitration on the basis of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, a decision Greenpeace said it applauds. Russian investigators said they found morphine and opium straw onboard the ship as well as dual-use equipment that may have been intended for other than ecological purposes.