In return, the U.S. agreed to hold off on a military strike to punish the Syrians for a nerve gas attack last month. About 82 percent of Americans favor such a deal, while 15 percent opposes. When asked if Syria will turn over all of its chemical weapons, just 33 percent said it is likely and 66 percent said it is unlikely. Meanwhile, the top U.S. and Russian diplomats met Tuesday at the U.N. in hopes of working out the details. There has been very little progress since that deal was made 10 days ago. The U.N. meeting ran nearly two hours and there was a lot to discuss. Secretary Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov came into Tuesday afternoon’s meeting with sharp differences over the terms of the deal and how to enforce it. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met at the U.N. on Sept.
Officials: US, Russia still at odds on Syria resolution; Obama seeks penalties for violations
24, 2013: Greenpeace ship “Arctic Sunrise” is escorted by a Russian coast guard boat, in Kola Bay at the military base Severomorsk on the Kola peninsula in Russia, at dawn. Russia has filed piracy charges against Greenpeace activists who tried to board an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom.AP MURMANSK, Russia Russian investigators said Tuesday that they will file piracy charges against Greenpeace activists who tried to climb onto an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by the state-controlled gas company Gazprom. The activists are on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, that was seized last week by the Russian Coast Guard and towed Tuesday into a port near Murmansk. It was unclear how many of the 30 activists from 18 countries face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $15,500). The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the “more active” among them. Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist told The Associated Press that the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 15 miles north of Murmansk.
The IMF predicts Russias gross domestic product will grow 1.5 percent this year and 3 percent in 2014, versus July projections of 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent. The near-term outlook is for moderate growth and inflation at the upper end of the target range of the central bank, the IMF said. To protect growth-enhancing investment spending, adjustment efforts should primarily focus on rebalancing the mix of spending and enhancing its efficiency, and pursuing structural reforms, in particular pension reform. The ruble depreciated 0.4 percent against the dollar to 31.9290 as of 4:31 p.m. in Moscow. The Micex Index of 50 stocks retreated 0.5 percent to 1,460.85. Growth, Privatization Slowing economic growth and worsening expectations for proceeds from state asset sales forced the government last week to widen its budget deficit forecasts through 2015 even as public salaries are frozen for next year. Spending in areas excluding pensions, welfare benefits and debt servicing will be cut by as much as 5 percent and dividends from state-owned companies are set to rise from 2015, according to the draft plan. Bank Rossii Chairman Elvira Nabiullina, whos overseeing the monetary authoritys planned shift to inflation targeting by 2015, last week raised the possibility of increasing interest rates because of government plans to exempt households from a tariff freeze, as she seeks to reduce inflation to 4.5 percent. Consumer-price growth, which remained at 6.5 percent from a year earlier in August, has exceeded the top end of the central banks target range of 5 percent to 6 percent for 12 months. Russias general government budget deficit, the first in three years, may amount to 0.6 percent of GDP this year and 0.7 percent in 2014, the IMF estimates. Year-end inflation may slow to 6.2 percent this year from 6.6 percent in 2012, and decelerate to 5.3 percent in 2014, it said. Russia would need more banking supervision measures to reduce risks from continued high growth in unsecured retail lending, according to the IMF.
Russia files piracy charges against Greenpeace activists for anti-drilling protest in Arctic
Kerry told reporters after the meeting that the session had been very constructive. Three senior officials familiar with the effort say negotiations remain a work in progress as the U.S. pushes for a binding, enforceable, verifiable arms-control regime that strips Syria of its entire chemical weapons stocks and facilities. The U.S. also is demanding that the resolution not contain ambiguities or loopholes, they said. The officials said several key conceptual hurdles are points of contention with the Russians as both sides seek agreement on the language of the resolution. The U.S. and Russian ambassadors to the United Nations have been tasked with working out the language. U.N. diplomats say differences between the U.S. and Russia on how a resolution should be enforced have held up action in the Security Council. Russia is opposed to any mention of Chapter 7 of the U.N.