U.S. and Czech Republic sign deal on missile shield
Missile defense system hinders progress at Russia and U.S. talks
Venezuela, Colombia hold talks to repair ties
Germany moves into Georgia-Russia dispute
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Russian delegation to hold security talks in Iran
MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) -A high-ranking Russian Security Council official will hold talks with senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Monday.
The Russian delegation headed by acting Security Council secretary Valentin Sobolev is also due to meet with the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, as a follow up to the secretary's visit to Moscow in December 2007.
The officials will discuss "bilateral cooperation in security, as well as topical international and regional issues," Iran's Security Council said in an official statement.
The sides are also expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear program, as well as the situation in the Middle East, a source close the negotiations told RIA Novosti.
A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, led by its deputy director general, Olli Heinonen, will also arrive in Tehran on Monday to continue talks on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program started last week.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was prepared to try and reach an agreement with any country over its nuclear program, but will not stop its development of peaceful atomic energy despite outside pressure.
The international community has demanded that Tehran halt uranium enrichment, used both in electricity generation and nuclear weapons production. Iran insists on its right to civilian nuclear energy, and has defied three sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear program.
Iran, however, announced this month it was installing another 6,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its underground facility in Natanz in addition to the current 3,000. The country also announced tests of advanced enrichment centrifuges, along with plans to build a second uranium processing plant by next March.
The country's nuclear ambitions have fueled tensions with Washington, with U.S. President George Bush refusing late last year to rule out military action against Tehran.
Russia and China, which both have strong business interests in Iran, blocked stronger measures against the country using their vetoes at the UN Security Council.
28/04/2008, International Herald Tribune
Answer the questions:
What is the Russian delegation’s visit to Tehran aimed at?
Who will a high-ranking Russian Security Council official hold talks with?
Who is the Russian delegation headed by?
What issues will the Russian and Iranian officials discuss during this meeting?
Who will also arrive in Tehran to continue talks on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program?
What has the international community demanded from Tehran to do?
What announcements were made by the Iranian government this month?
Why has the Iranian nuclear program raised concern in the West?
How did the USA, Russia and China try to put more pressure on the Iranian government?
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Putin, Still Potent, Comes to Paris
Vladimir Putin may no longer be President of Russia, but you wouldn't know that by the head-of-state treatment he's receiving in France. On Thursday, Putin began a two-day trip to Paris — his first major foreign excursion since swapping his presidency for the job of Prime Minister — where he'll meet with both his French counterpart, F. Fillon, and President N. Sarkozy. The unusually reverential treatment for a visiting head of government reflects the belief among France's leaders, like most others in the West, that Putin remains the eminent political force in Russia regardless of his title. But the visit also reflects Putin's belief that the road to repairing Russia's strained relations with the European Union runs through Paris.
Russian officials quoted in the media acknowledge that the timing and focus of Putin's visit indicate that Moscow sees a diplomatic opportunity in the fact that France will assume the E.U.'s rotating presidency on July 1. Efforts to renew expired strategic accords that shaped Russo-European relations have floundered for nearly two years amid tensions over military and energy concerns, and European complaints of alleged human rights violations and election-tampering in Russia. Recently, however, both sides have signaled a greater willingness to normalize ties — especially since new E.U. members Poland and Lithuania expressed satisfaction with Russian responses to their objections on a now-lifted beef ban, and over Moscow's use of its oil pipeline to the West as a de facto political weapon. Indeed, just last Monday, all 27 E.U. states agreed to resume formal talks to reestablish the defunct accords that cover a wide range of security, economic, energy and administrative issues.
"This topic will be primordial during the meetings with Prime Minister F. Fillon and President N. Sarkozy," a Russian government source told the RIA Novosti press agency. "Since we've always considered dialogue with France as an important factor in the rapprochement between Russia and the E.U., our cooperation will be accorded a choice spot during the French presidency."
The friendship between Sarkozy and Putin reflects a common view on some major strategic questions: France shares Russia's concern over NATO opening formal membership talks with former Soviet republics Georgia and the Ukraine. Paris also echoes some of Moscow's suspicion over U.S. plans to deploy its missile-defense system in Eastern Europe. Such sympathy for Russian positions should leave Moscow feeling more comfortable with France assuming the E.U. presidency just as negotiations over new Russo-European accords kick off June 26.
French voters may not share Sarkozy's enthusiasm for Putin, but few will object if it results in improved Russo-E.U. ties. And improved ties between Moscow and Paris are good for French business. Talks between Putin and French officials will cover contracts for French military, aerospace, energy and technology companies — including plans for oil giant Total's involvement in developing Russia's giant Shtokman gas field. Though France is only Russia's sixth-largest trading partner, improved bilateral relations have recently helped triple the value of their annual exchange to $25.7 billion. And in an economically sluggish France, there will be few voices willing to shout nyet to that.
29/05 /2008, Time
Answer the questions:
At whose invitation did the Russian Prime Minister arrive in Paris?
Who will V. Putin meet with during his two-day stay in Paris?
What is the primary goal of the Russian Prime Minister’s official trip to France?
How do the Russian officials assess the Russian Prime Minister’s visit to France? Does this visit mean the beginning of the improvement of tense Russo-European relations?
What formal talks did all 27 E.U. states agree to resume with Russia?
How have the relations between Russia and France been developing lately?
What issues will be covered by the Russian Prime Minister and French officials during the talks?
Turn to current press materials and find the information:
what delegation paid a visit to our country recently,
when the delegation arrived in our country,
at whose invitation the delegation visited Russia,
what kind of visit it was,
who headed the delegation,
who was the delegation welcomed by,
who the delegation welcomed by,
who the delegation had talks with,
what problems were discussed during the talks.
Active vocabulary: words and word combinations:
cooperation – сотрудничество
versatile (multiform, multisided) cooperation – многостороннее сотрудничество
fruitful cooperation – плодотворное сотрудничество
comprehensive cooperation – всеобъемлющее сотрудничество
cooperation in research work – сотрудничество в научно-исследовательской области
to cooperate in the field (sphere, branch, area) of economy – сотрудничать в области экономики
to intensify cooperation – усилить сотрудничество
an agreement (a contract, a deal, an accord) – соглашение, договор
a preliminary agreement – предварительное соглашение
an initial agreement - первоначальное соглашение
a final agreement – окончательное соглашение
a long-term agreement – долгосрочное соглашение
a short-term agreement - краткосрочное соглашение
a unilateral agreement – одностороннее соглашение
a bilateral agreement – двустороннее соглашение
an intergovernmental agreement – межправительственно соглашение
a framework agreement – рамочное соглашение
a landmark agreement – «эпохальное» соглашение
to seek an agreement – искать согласие
to reach (to come to) an agreement – прийти к соглашению
to sign an agreement – подписать соглашение
to conclude (strike) an agreement – заключить договор
to ratify an agreement – ратифицировать соглашение
to implement an agreement – выполнять соглашение
to cancel an agreement – аннулировать соглашение
to carry out provisions of an agreement – выполнять положения договора
under an agreement – по соглашению, согласно договоренности
to enter into force (to go into effect)– входить в силу (начать действовать)
to enter into a pact – заключить договор
to extend (to expand) – расширять
to extend ties (links) – расширять связи
an extension (spread) – расширение
extension of all-round cooperation – расширение всестороннего сотрудничества
extensive – широкий
links (ties, contacts, relations) – связи
interstate links – межгосударственные связи
longstanding links – продолжительные отношения
to maintain vast links – поддерживать обширные связи
to revitalize (to revive, to renew, to refresh) ties – оживлять связи
to intensify links – усиливать связи
to cement ties – устанавливать прочную связь
to boost – способствовать росту, повышать, усиливать
a boost – быстрый рост, повышение
to give a boost to (to give an impetus) – давать толчок, послужить стимулом, ускорять
an advantage (benefit) – выгода, преимущество
to seek advantage (over) – искать выгоду
to take advantage of – использовать что-либо в своих интересах
to one’s best advantage – наилучшим, самым выгодным образом
advantageous (beneficial) – выгодный
mutually advantageous terms – взаимовыгодные условия
benefit (profit) – выгода, польза
common benefit – общая выгода
to yield considerable benefit – приносить огромную пользу
to benefit from – извлекать пользу из чего-либо
a move (a step, an action) – шаг, действие, поступок
a political move – политическая инициатива (ход, маневр)
to make a move – предпринять что-либо, начать действовать
to promote ( develop, foster) – продвигать, содействовать
to promote cooperation – развивать сотрудничество
to promote the relaxation of international tension – способствовать ослаблению международной напряженности
to embrace (cover) fields (spheres) – охватывать области
to contribute to – способствовать чему-либо
to strengthen – укреплять
to deepen – углублять
to smooth (to ease, to lessen) – сглаживать, смягчать
to forge – вырабатывать, строить (отношения)
to forge a special relationship – устанавливать особые отношения
to be at an impasse – быть в тупике
rapprochement – сближение
to achieve a breakthrough – добиться прорыва
to iron out (bridge) differences – устранять противоречия
to rule out – исключить, вынести решение не делать
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Agreements on extending trade and economic, industrial and technical cooperation between Russia and Canada were signed last week during Russian Foreign Minister’s stay in Ottawa. It was also agreed to resume talks on a programme for exchanges in science, education and other areas.
Russia has signed a protocol on completing bilateral talks with the United Arab Emirates on its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Sunday. "The agreement that has been signed testifies to the parties' intention to develop and strengthen bilateral cooperation in the economic sphere within a multilateral trade system, contribute to more intense mutual trade and closer friendly relations," Kudrin said after a signing ceremony.
President George W. Bush looked into the eyes of Russia's new president, Dmitri Medvedev, on Monday and saw, he said, "a smart guy."The two presidents spent more than an hour together here in their first face-to-face meeting since Medvedev succeeded Vladimir Putin. Afterward, they said they had agreed on the need for Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions, but did not bridge their differences on Bush's proposal to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
The United States and the Czech Republic on Tuesday signed an initial agreement to begin basing part of a U.S. missile shield in the Czech Republic. Earlier, Rice all but ruled out a stop in Poland this week, saying that the United States had answered Polish demands for military hardware and the final agreement rested with Polish authorities.
Poland's top diplomats were in Washington on Monday in crisis talks to seek agreement with the United States over terms for deploying part of the Pentagon's anti-ballistic missile shield on its territory. The talks took place a day before Rice was to arrive in the Czech Republic for a landmark signing ceremony. The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday that Washington and Prague would sign a legal accord allowing the Pentagon to base its radar defense missile system not far from the capital, Prague. That ceremony, analysts say, will complete the Czech Republic's goal of becoming integrated into the U.S. security and strategic system.
The White House press secretary said Thursday that Bush hoped to discuss with Medvedev areas where the two countries could "intensify cooperation in the months ahead, including on missile defense and Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization. Bush also wants to learn more about the Russian leader's domestic priorities.”
Russia is in favor of the development of all-round cooperation with Japan and other developed countries. Economic links are mutually beneficial, they promote the relaxation of international tension and help build confidence between the two countries.
Russia wants to trade and cooperate with Western countries, including Britain. ^ . Of course, such trade benefits Russia but it also benefits Western countries providing employment and often long-term orders. Long-term economic agreements between countries create trust in each other’s intentions. It is also true in a political sense as it promotes the development of peaceful coexistence. So the improvement in British-Russian economic cooperation is to be welcomed.
^ in Beijing that clears the way for direct chartered flights to the island and back every weekend — and businessmen keen on developing ties to the mainland are breathing easier. "The direct flights would save us a whole work day when we travel," says Samuel Chiu, a Taiwan-based business development manager at electronic instrumentation manufacturer Agilent Technologies. "That's the biggest cost benefit. Traveling to Shanghai will only take two hours now."
Russian–French cooperation has yielded considerable benefit to both countries. Economic and scientific ties of Russia and France embrace today such fields as space exploration, electronic computers, unique machinery and equipment.
The USA and China yesterday signed an accord to smooth future trade relations. The deal aims to foster cooperation in areas such as telecommunications, chemicals, electric power, aviation, automotive machinery and services where China needs help and in which American business excels.
Plans to enter into a political and economic pact between the European Union and the Mediterranean countries of North Africa and the Middle East may fail on the issue of aid.
Russia and the United States will sign a long awaited civilian nuclear cooperation pact on Tuesday that will allow firms from the world's two biggest atomic powers to expand bilateral nuclear trade significantly. The deal will be signed in Moscow on the last full day of Vladimir Putin's presidency. The deal will open up the booming U.S. nuclear market and Russia's vast uranium fields to firms from both countries. Without a deal cooperation was severely limited and required official consent.
Russia and the European Union (EU) will start talks on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in Brussels on July 4. This has become possible owing to the joint efforts undertaken under the 1994 PCA, which expired last year. The summit in Khanty-Mansiisk kicked off negotiations on a new agreement. Some of these areas have already been mentioned in Moscow and Brussels, for instance energy cooperation, science and technology, trade and investment (after Russia's WTO entry), and visa-free travel. Some specific agreements may be drafted alongside the basic document, but on the whole a package of such agreements is expected to be the next stage in the formation of a new political and legal foundation for a Russia-EU strategic partnership.
Ending an 18-month impasse, European Union countries agreed Wednesday to begin wide-ranging new negotiations with Russia, raising hopes that an era of tension and confrontation with Moscow could give way to an improved relationship.
In a rare diplomatic breakthrough in recent relations, the Bush administration signed a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia this month. But that deal is facing stiff opposition from lawmakers, who argue that Russia is not doing enough to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that now is not the time for cooperation with Putin's Russia.
"We have agreed that there should be a joint strategic framework document for the presidents to be able to record all of the elements of the U.S.-Russian relationship as we go forward into the future," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She said negotiations had brought consensus on which parts of the relationship would be in the document; the dozen or so policy issues include trade, counter-terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Her counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said the talks also covered "some contentious issues where we have not reached agreement as of now," in particular missile defense and the exact legal form of a future bilateral limit on nuclear weapons.
There are many reasons for the chill but none greater than the regrettable wars both nations have launched: Russia's in Chechnya and the U.S.'s in Iraq. The wars have damaged prospects for what seemed attainable a decade and a half ago: Russia and the U.S. genuinely engaged in collaboration based on shared common values, spanning the old cold war dividing lines and thereby enhancing global security and expanding the transatlantic community.
Russia and Britain have put their differences over Iraq behind them, and are working together on key international issues. In a joint press conference on the last day of Mr Putin's state visit to Britain, the two leaders spoke of increasingly close political and economic ties between the countries, underlined by a landmark energy deal signed this morning that will see Britain become Russia's largest foreign investor.
In an interview with Sky News yesterday, Mr Brown said: “America is our most important ally, it will always be because of the values we share with America, and so it is central to how we conduct our foreign policy. The great change that is taking place, that I think is to the advantage of everyone, is that France and Germany and the EU are also moving more closely with America. And I think that’s to the benefit of Britain, it’s to the benefit of the world.”
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China and Taiwan's Plane Diplomacy
For Taiwanese businesspeople living in China, trips home can be a full-day slog. Despite the proximity of the island to the mainland, sensitive Taiwan/China relations means there are virtually no direct flights. Travelers are forced to transit an intermediate airport, usually the one in Hong Kong, adding hours to what ought to be a relatively quick trip.
But since March, when Taiwanese elected Ma Ying-jeou as President, China and Taiwan relations have been improving. Case in point: on June 13, a landmark agreement was reached in Beijing that clears the way for direct chartered flights to the island and back every weekend — and businessmen keen on developing ties to the mainland are breathing easier. "The direct flights would save us a whole work day when we travel," says Samuel Chiu, a Taiwan-based business development manager at electronic instrumentation manufacturer Agilent Technologies. "That's the biggest cost benefit. Traveling to Shanghai will only take two hours now."
The agreement is significant to more than the convenience of the estimated 5 million Taiwanese who traveled to China last year, or to the 1 million who now live and work on the mainland. It is expected to aid Taiwan's economy and ease tensions across the combustible Taiwan Strait, the 112 mile (180km) wide body of water separating mainland China and Taiwan. The direct-flight deal was reached by two semi-official bodies representing Beijing and Taipei in their touchy diplomatic contacts: Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. The two sides hadn't met since 1999, when Taiwan's then-President Lee Teng-huis offended China by referring to their relations as "state-to-state." China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway territory and bristles at any reference to it as a sovereign government. "The resumption of talks is always encouraging," says Andrew Yang, head of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies. "Now a brief encounter between the two sides unveils a new historical chapter for cross-strait relations."
Ma, who was elected by 58% of voters in March, made improved ties with the mainland a key platform of his campaign. The direct flights agreement represents the first major step his administration has taken to meeting that pledge.
The agreement is expected to give a modest boost to Taiwan's economy. More cross-strait tourism will boost annual GDP growth by 6% to 8%, according to a report on tourism in Taiwan by Goldman Sachs. Benefits could extend beyond the economy. China has threatened to invade Taiwan if it declares formal independence and has installed hundreds of missiles along its southern coast near Taiwan. The U.S. military, which could be drawn in to defend Taiwan in the event of a conflict, considers the Taiwan Strait to be one of the most dangerous flashpoints in Asia. Easing tensions will require more than a deal on tourism, Yang says, but he notes that Friday's agreement could help reduce provocative military maneuvers. "Both China and Taiwan conduct training exercises in the Taiwan Strait. To avoid miscalculation, to avoid accidents, those exercises have to be constrained," he says. "Whether Beijing or Taiwan have a willingness to eliminate exercises and training, that remains to be seen. But that would be conducive to assurance of safety corridors for normal charter flights." When the skies between the two sides are crowded with passenger aircraft, it's that much harder to fill them with missiles and fighter jets.
13/06 /2008, Time
Answer the questions:
What landmark agreement was reached by China and Taiwan? Where was this agreement signed?
In what areas does the deal aim to foster cooperation between the two parties?
Since what time have Chinese-Taiwanese relations been improving?
Why is this accord considered to be significant?
When and why did the relations between China and Taiwan deteriorate?
What other Taiwanese areas is the agreement expected to give a boost to?
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