Turkey's link with Moscow is elevated if Russia is keen on adapting a new strategy that gives up on Assad and increase its pressure for a transitional government as agreed in Geneva in the short-term. As long as the Russian interest in Syria as a powerful bargaining chip vis-a-vis NATO is protected, Moscow is ready to give credibility to Ankara.
Entries in Dmitry Medvedev (9)
Protesting women greet armoured personnel carriers with peace signs; police respond with sound grenades
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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: This is "Peace" --- Another 90 Die
1818 GMT: The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria claims that 45 people have died today, including three women and four children. Twenty-four of the deaths were in Homs, where several neighbourhoods are being shelled, and 13 in Idlib, where regime forces have moved into the Saraqeb district.
1641 GMT: Andrew Hammond of Reuters writes, amidst reports of widespread use of tear gas by Bahrain's security forces:
back after Sitra. all i can say is that was really insane. cld have been worse too if media hadnt been around— Andrew Hammond (@Hammonda1) March 24, 2012
Vladimir Putin cries with joy at his post-election rally
Vladimir Putin faces new protests on Monday to challenge his victory in a presidential election he said had prevented Russia from falling into the hands of enemies trying to usurp power.
Putin's opponents, complaining of widespread fraud in Sunday's election, said they did not recognize the results and would rally near the Kremlin at 7 p.m. (1500 GMT).
But the former KGB spy, who after four years as prime minister will be returning to the post he held from 2000 until 2008, said with tears rolling down his cheeks that he had won a "clean" victory.
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2040 GMT: No Comment. Those conservatives and principlists who have warned of the "deviant current" around President Ahmadinejad may be interested in this from the Tehran Times:
Presidential aide Mojtaba Hashemi-Samareh ruled out the possibility of the manipulation of the March parliamentary elections by administration officials, emphasizing that there is no cause for concern in this regard.
He told the Mehr News Agency that the administration is tasked with holding the elections, but candidates’ representatives and the Guardian Council will oversee the running of the elections, so there is no cause for concern.
How can Russia react? President Medvedev said the “terrorists” will be punished as soon as possible, but to prevent further attacks Moscow may have to elevate military options. Considering the past experience with this approach, such a strategy may lead to further conflicts between Russia, Chechnya, and other North Caucasian regions.
Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Palestinians will ask the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to declare Israeli settlements illegal and to demand a halt to their construction.
In advance of the meeting, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was in the West Bank, holding meetings with Ramallah's officials including the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Medvedev said:
Russia's position remains unchanged. Russia made its choice a long time ago....We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The confirmation on Wednesday of the New START Treaty with Russia concluded a staggering turnaround in the fortunes of the Obama Administration. Even the tax cuts of the previous week, initially presented as a victory for the Republicans holding the President hostage to their demands, have now become part of the triumphal story of Barack Obama as the Comeback Kid.
UPDATE 1915 GMT: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that opposition candidate Vladimir Neklyayev, who was hospitalised on Sunday after he was beaten unconscious by police, was subsequently snatched from his hospital bed by men in plainclothes.
UPDATE 1900 GMT: Activists claim that independent exit polls showed President Alexander Lukashenko was preferred by 40% of voters, followed by Vladimir Neklyayev with 19.3% and Andrei Sannikov with 13%.
The official return declared Lukashenko the victor with 80%, with no opponent getting more than 2.56%. Neklyayev was reportedly beaten unconscious and taken to hospital during Sunday protests.
China, Russia Talk Energy, Security, Finance: China and Russia have issued a joint statement on strategic partnership in energy.
The two sides pledged cooperation on crude oil, natural gas, coal, electric power, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, and they looked for a quick consensus on the construction of the Sino-Russian natural gas pipeline. The two sides agreed to promote the development of coal mines, supported by railway and port construction, and to work together on trading of electric power and grid enhancement.
In a statement signed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Beijing and Moscow called on Asian and Pacific countries to step up efforts to maintain regional security and stability amid mounting threats and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.
Both sides also agreed to expand bilateral financial cooperation, including mutual trading between the renminbi (RMB), the Chinese currency, and the ruble.