Dutch Apologize To Russia Over Arrest Of Diplomat _ But Russia Still Criticizes Their Cheese

US, Russia Want Clarity on Iran Nuclear Issue

The detention of 28 activists and two journalists from 18 countries has provoked a diplomatic row as the Netherlands seeks to force Russia to release the Dutch-registered ship and its crew through international arbitration. Two Greenpeace protesters scaled OAO Gazprom s Prirazlomnoye rig in the Pechora Sea on Sept. 18. A day later Russias Coast Guard boarded the groups Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters and towed the vessel to Murmansk. We can only assume the Russian authorities are referring to the medical supplies that our ships are obliged to carry under maritime law, Greenpeace said in an e-mailed statement. The ship was first searched by Russian officers weeks ago, they scoured every corner of it, so we assume this announcement is designed to deflect attention from the growing global outrage over the continued imprisonment of the detainees. Adding to the tensions with the Netherlands, President Vladimir Putin yesterday demanded a Dutch apology after police arrested a Russian diplomat in The Hague and allegedly beat him in front of his family, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. The Netherlands today said the envoys diplomatic immunity had been violated and offered its apologies over the incident, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Arctic Sunrise Two citizens of the Netherlands are among the Greenpeace activists in custody in the port city of Murmansk and their boat, Arctic Sunrise, is Dutch-registered. The countrys authorities said Oct. 4 that they had started arbitration on the basis of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, a decision Greenpeace said it applauds. Russian investigators said they found morphine and opium straw onboard the ship as well as dual-use equipment that may have been intended for other than ecological purposes. Greenpeace International s executive director, Kumi Naidoo , sent a letter to Putin asking for a meeting and offered to come to Russia and make himself a personal guarantor of the groups activists if they are released on bail, according to an e-mailed statement.

Global leaders fear potential U.S. default Chico Harlan and Howard Schneider Some in Europe and Asia say they are stunned at the quixotic partisan fervor shaking global economic pillar. Abigail Hauslouhner, Anne Gearan and Scott Wilson U.S. decision to cut aid comes three months after military coup to oust democratically elected president. Anne Gearan Secretary apologizes for Obamas absence at the annual session, meets with Chinese premier. Diplomat Dmitry Borodin was arrested Saturday by police in The Hague over what Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich called an absolutely contrived allegation of child abuse. His arrest breached the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, Timmermans said in a statement Wednesday. The Netherlands offers the Russian Federation its apologies. Still, the minister said he understood the action of police who arrested Borodin a statement unlikely to appease Russian demands for action against the officers. The two nations remain in talks about the situation. Alexei Pushkov, chief of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Russias parliament, wasnt satisfied. The Hague has offered us its excuses, but it has effectively sought to justify the police action, calling it professional. So, there are excuses but there is no one to blame, he tweeted. Police have declined to comment on the incident. Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported that police had traced a car involved in an accident that day to Borodins home, and neighbors told police they were worried for the safety of the children inside. The Dutch-Russian spat shifted to another topic Wednesday as Russia questioned the quality of one of the Netherlands key exports cheese.

An artisan gives finishing touches to an effigy of demon king Ravana in preparation for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh October 8, 2013. The effigies are burnt during the festival which commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia) that Iran likely wants “more clarity” about the way forward. “Iran probably wants more clarity,” Lavrov said. “More specific steps to be spelled out on the road to the result which we all want to achieve. And I think this will be discussed next week in Geneva, a meeting to which Iran agreed. And to which Iran and three plus three are getting ready in a very constructive mood, as our contacts in New York show.” Kerry said the United States is encouraged by Iran’s recent outreach efforts, but that actions, and not words, are what will make a difference. “So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful,” Kerry said. “And we have made it clear that if there are those indicators, the United States and our allies are absolutely prepared to move in appropriate ways to meet their actions. Kerry said Iran has not responded to an offer the P5+1 group made earlier this year, which called for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and halt enrichment at one of its nuclear facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that offer was no longer valid, and that the P5+1 should come to next week’s negotiations with a “new point of view.” Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes and wants the international community to lift a range of sanctions imposed for its refusal to halt enrichment activity. The possible threat of a ballistic missile strike from countries like Iran has led the United States to plan a missile shield in Europe. Russia disagrees with the move, saying the system could neutralize its own strategic missile force and leave it vulnerable to the West. Kerry said Monday it is too early to make determinations about the system as long as the Iranian threat continues.

Russia ‘finds drugs’ on Greenpeace ship, new charges loom

Painkiller morphine is subject to strict rules in Russia on how it must be stored by medics. ‘Nothing illegal was on the ship’ “Any claim that something other than medical supplies was found should be regarded with great suspicion,” Greenpeace said, adding the ship was searched with a sniffer dog in Norway. “Nothing was found because nothing illegal was on the ship.” The group added the vessel had stored “certain medical supplies” in a safe to which only the captain and the doctor had access. “The safe was broken into by the Russian authorities during the searching of the ship.” A Moscow-based Greenpeace representative, Mikhail Kreindlin, said the vessel had been without the crew for two weeks. “In these circumstances a nuclear bomb could have been found there.” The group also said the claims over boat ramming were a “fantasy.” Last week, investigators charged the ship’s 30 activists from 18 countries including a freelance photojournalist with piracy which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. The activists were last month placed in pre-trial detention for two months. Earlier Wednesday, Greenpeace chief Kumi Naidoo asked for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, saying he was willing to travel to Russia and offer himself as “security” to win the activists’ release. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was aware the letter was delivered to the Russian embassy in the Hague but said such a meeting was not being considered now. Putin has said the activists “of course are not pirates” but his spokesman later said the president had expressed his personal opinion. The unusually harsh charges prompted protest rallies around the world over the weekend, with celebrities like actor Jude Law and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood joining in. Earlier this week a Greenpeace lawyer said the activists had to endure “inhuman conditions” in their jails. Since the arrests of the activists ties between Russia and the Netherlands, the Greenpeace ship’s flag country, have deteriorated sharply. On Tuesday, Putin demanded a Dutch apology after the Netherlands briefly detained a Russian diplomat, with authorities hinting Wednesday they may ban the import of Dutch tulips and dairy products.