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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

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Israel 'not planning Iran strike' Aljazeera.net :Russian President Dmitri Medvedev

The Israeli president said Israel has no intention to launch a military attack on Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with CNN released Sunday. 
 Medvedev touched upon a number of key issues, including the Israeli-Iranian relations, START talks and the missile defense system.
    He said Israel is not going to deliver any blows on Iran, as he was assured by Israeli President Shimon Peres during their recent meeting.
    Medvedev said when he met Peres in Sochi last month, the Israeli president said "Israel does not intend to launch any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this."
    Medvedev also confirmed a secret visit "in a close regime" by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow earlier this month, whom he had conversation with, according to a transcript of the interview published by the Kremlin.
    Yet he did not disclose any details of their meeting. Israeli media said Netanyahu was to discuss Moscow's arms deals with Iran and Syria during the visit.
    When asked whether Russia would support Iran when Israel launched an attack, Medvedev said "Russia can not support anybody or act in such a situation," but it neither means that Russia "would like to be or will be impassible" before such "unreasonable" developments.
    "But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them," he said.
    "Our task is not to strengthen Iran and weaken Israel or vice versa, but our task is to ensure a normal, calm situation in the Middle East," he said.
    The Russian head of state also said in the interview that his country reserved the right to deliver defensive systems to Iran, and "any supplies of any weapons, all the more defensive weapons, can not increase tension; on the contrary they should ease it."
    Although Russia repeatedly opposed sanctions against Iran, Medvedev urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an obligation. 

    "Iran must cooperate with the IAEA, this is an absolutely indubitable thing, if it wishes to develop its nuclear dimension, nuclear energy program. This is its duty and not a matter of its choice," he said.
    Russia and Iran cut a deal two years ago concerning the delivery of S-300 air defense systems. Israel has urged Russia not to deliver such systems to Iran, alleging Iran wants to develop a military nuclear program and such a deal will not serve the interests of peace in the Middle East. Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes.
    Medvedev also said the chances for an agreement with the United States on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty by the end of this year are high.
    "If we come to an agreement by the end of the year, and chances remain quite high, I believe, this would be extremely helpful for us, as well as for the world community," he said.
    Russia and the United States have been engaged in working out are placement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which was signed in 1991 between the United States and the former Soviet Union and is due to expire in December.
    Concerning the missile defense system, the Russian president reiterated that the system must have global dimension.
    "I have many times reiterated that such simple conclusions are as follows: the missile defense issues may not be dealt with by two or three countries separately...the defense should have global dimensions rather than consist of a limited number of missiles which can first of all reach our territory and cannot cover greater distances," he said.
    Russia has dropped plans to install short-range Iskander missiles in its enclave region of Kaliningrad after the United States scrapped its missile defense program in Eastern Europe, said Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin Saturday.
    The Bush administration had planned to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of a shield to protect its European allies from missile threats from some "rogue states."
    Russia strongly opposed the measure, saying it posed threats to its security.

Pakistan's FM Speaks Out

"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric spoke exclusively Monday with Pakistan's foreign minister Mahkdoom Qureshi about Gen. McChrystal's request.
Couric: Do you think that more American troops would be helpful to Afghanistan and to Pakistan?

Qureshi: There are two sides of the border. What we have done in the last one year, in our opinion, our side of the border is being far better managed today. We have the terrorists on the run.

Couric: How so?

Qureshi: Because today the local population in the tribal belt has risen against them. They are, for the first time, moving along with the troops searching for them. But there is a problem we are facing. And the problem is that there is a constant flow of weapons into Pakistan. Where are they coming from? They're coming from across the border.

Couric: Would happen, in your view, if - if the U.S. pulled out?

Qureshi: Oh, there'd be chaos, you know? You went in. You cannot leave without doing the job.

Couric: Many countries have. It's called the graveyard of empires for a reason.

Qureshi: Yes. And might look at the results then. Look what happened. Then you have 9/11's, right? And then you have, you know, these militants knocking on your door. Do you want that? No. The world, global economy will get affected. Do we want that? No.

Couric: A recent Gallup poll shows that 59 percent of Pakistanis regard the U.S. as the greatest threat to the country. Sixty-seven percent oppose U.S. drone attacks against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Why is there such public opposition in your country?

Qureshi: There are two issues why there's opposition to the drones. One is the issue of sovereignty. And the other is collateral damage. That is why what Pakistan is saying - transfer the technology to us. Give us the ownership and we can use this technology for the purpose that you want it to be used for.

Couric: I think the United States military worries that that technology will get into the hands of the wrong people if they're too relaxed about giving it to your country.

Qureshi: We are sort of your allies, and we have been your allies for a very, very long time. And this relationship can only be built on trust and confidence. So if you lack trust and confidence, where are we going? Today there is a consensus in Pakistan that these guys, the Taliban, and their value system is threatening what we believe in.

We have to fight them. Not for you - we have to fight them for ourselves.

Couric: How is anti-American sentiment right now in Pakistan?

Qureshi: I think you have failed in public diplomacy. You have not reaped - sort of the - the rewards of what you have given.

Couric: Isn't sending billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, though, a pretty powerful message to the Pakistani people?

Qureshi: You see, giving money is one thing. But cultivating the people is something totally different. President Obama is now reaching out to the Muslim world. Why is he doing that? Because he realizes that the strategy of the past was not working.

            Pakistan's FM Speaks Out

Katie Couric speaks with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the current Foreign Minister of Pakistan, about the instability of neighboring Afghanistan and the presence of U.S. military in the region