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13 May, 2009 10:19

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, May 13

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, May 13

This Wednesday ROAR offers opinions on nuclear disarmament, peace in the Middle East and Ukraine; the latter contributed by Muammar Qaddafi.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA quotes the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, as saying that if in the next two years the Middle East peace negotiations do not resume, a new war is going to break out in the region. The Jordanian monarch says that in the next 12–18 months a war is likely to start, on the scale of the 2006 war in Lebanon or the recent Gaza conflict.

The paper says, the King of Jordan – noting that 57 nations, mostly Moslem, do not recognize the State of Israel – suggests a ‘57-side’ solution to the Palestinian problem. He means that by helping create and recognizing a Palestinian state Israel wins normalization of its relations with the whole of the Moslem world. The King, quoted by the paper, called peace with all Moslems ‘the main reward’ Israel is going to receive if it allows the Palestinian state to emerge.

The paper says new policies pursued in the Middle East by the Obama administration in the US are reinstating such objectives of the Middle East peace process, forgotten in the times of the Bush administration, as the creation of the Palestinian state. The progress of the peace process has now become a matter of principle for the majority of the UN Security Council members, and the latest Council decisions may present the necessary impulse for a new phase in Middle East peace negotiations. The paper says analysts see the main remaining obstacle to the creation of the Palestinian state in the antagonism which has developed between the Palestinian National Administration and HAMAS.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that Russia–US negotiations on nuclear disarmament are going to raise a few sensitive questions on which there is no consensus so far. The Russian side intends to challenge the US on the issue of stored nuclear warheads, as the usual methods of disarming ballistic missiles, used by the two nuclear superpowers, differ in principle. In Russia the warheads are destroyed, while in America some of them are stored, ready for future use in case of emergency. The paper quotes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who says that Russia is expecting the US to put forward its suggestions on control over the stored warheads.

Apart from that, says the paper, there are matters of missile defense and eastward expansion of NATO through the acceptance into the alliance of Ukraine and Georgia. The paper quotes a researcher from the Moscow Carnegie Center, who says that the points of disagreement will not jeopardize the negotiations: there were successful disarmament negotiations in Soviet times, while the overall atmosphere in Russia-US relations remained gloomy and filled with Cold War antagonism.

The paper says that during the upcoming visits to Russia by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (the paper’s sources are quoted saying that the visit will happen in June) and President Barack Obama (July 6 – 8) the issues of peace in the Middle East will also be prominent on the negotiations agenda. The paper quotes an unnamed Russian diplomat who says that now the US is ready to talk about a Middle East peace settlement along the lines of the 2002 initiative by a group of Arab nations, which suggests that Israel leaves the occupied territories (captured in 1967), allows Arab refugees to return there and endorses the creation of the Palestinian state in exchange for peace with the Arab world.

Leader of the Libyan Revolution Muammar Qaddafi is becoming a regular contributor to the op/ed pages of Russian newspapers. VREMYA NOVOSTEI presents one more of his articles, this time concerning Ukraine.

Qaddafi writes that as he has a certain influence on the world politics and takes part, by whatever means in his command, in the creation of a safe and secure world for all peoples including his own people, he makes his opinion known on many international issues in the hope for a positive result.

The Leader of the Libyan Revolution writes that being a free independent nation and a UN member is not enough for modern Ukraine. In its strive for independence, he says, Ukraine was many times on the brink of success, but the independence lasted only hours or days. It has lasted nearly two decades now, but still the Ukrainians want better guarantees of their independence than what they’ve got today.

Today, the only guarantee is Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s independence. Ukraine, says Qaddafi, wants firmer guarantees in the form of EU and NATO membership. For Russia that is not an option. Ukraine’s NATO membership would bring the alliance to Russia’s borders and that, writes Qaddafi, would be like an enemy knocking on your door – you better open or he will break in.

Ukraine, writes the author, says that its constitution doesn’t allow foreign military bases in its territory, but Russia retorts that it’s not the foreign military bases it objects against but the fact that the Ukrainian armed forces themselves would become part of the military force of an anti-Russian military bloc.

In conclusion, Muammar Qaddafi says that the decision concerning NATO membership about to be made by Ukraine will affect world security. It may inflict irreversible damage to the world peace process, says the Leader of the Libyan Revolution.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.