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NATO and Asian Pipeline

Qualcuno in lista difendeva la scelta del governo italiano di produrre e vendere armi, 
adducendo motivazioni di sicurezza e difesa nazionale. 
Dal testo che segue si può dedurre dove e come tali armamenti saranno impiegati. 

Se trovo tempo o aiuto per la traduzione lo rispedisco in italiano. 

Giorgio Ellero 

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Date sent: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 18:58:32 -0600

1. NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline (Rick Rozoff)
2. Russia Warns South Korea Against Provocations (Rick Rozoff)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 14:53:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Rick Rozoff <rwrozoff at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Stop NATO] NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
To: Rick Rozoff <rwrozoff at yahoo.com> Message-ID:
<128396.23330.qm at web111711.mail.gq1.yahoo.com> Content-Type:
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December 19, 2010

NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
Rick Rozoff

On December 11 the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Turkmenistan and the energy minister of India met in the Turkmen
capital of Ashgabat to bring to fruition fifteen years of planning by
interests in the United States to bring natural gas from the Caspian
Sea to the energy-needy nations of South and East Asia.

Presidents Hamid Karzai, Asif Ali Zardari and Gurbangulu
Berdimuhammedov along with Indian Union Petroleum and Natural Gas
Minister Murli Deora signed agreements - an Inter-Government Agreement
and the Gas Pipeline Transmission Agreement - to construct a natural
gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to
India. The initials of the first three countries involved lend
themselves to the project's acronym: TAP, now known as TAPI.

The Inter-Government Agreement "enjoins the four governments to
provide all support including security for the pipeline." [1]

The next day, Wahidullah Shahrani, Afghanistan's Minister of Mines and
Industries, confirmed that "Afghanistan will deploy about 7,000 troops
to secure a major transnational gas pipeline slated to run through
some of the most dangerous parts of the war-torn country." [2]

Speaking at a press conference in the Afghan capital, Shahrani added:
"This huge project is very important for Afghanistan. Five thousand to
seven thousand security forces will be deployed to safeguard the
pipeline route....We will also keep an eye on the security
situation....If more troops are needed, we will take action." [3]

Four days later U.S. Army Colonel John Ferrari, Deputy Commander of
Programs for the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan, was quoted on
the U.S. Defense Department's website stating:

?Our mission is to help the government of Afghanistan generate and
sustain the Afghan army and police, all the way from the ministerial
systems - essentially, their version of the Pentagon - through their
operational commands, down to the individual units.? [4]

Colonel Ferrari disclosed at the same time that in the next few days
the U.S. Army "will finally award a much-delayed $1.6 billion contract
for a private security firm to supplement [the] NATO training
command?s efforts to professionalize Afghan cops." The lucrative bid,
according to an American news source, "touched off a bureaucratic
tempest between Blackwater/Xe Services and DynCorp, which held an old
contract for the same job...." [5]

On the same day North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General
Anders Fogh Rasmussen endorsed the U.S.'s Afghanistan and Pakistan
Annual Review released on December 15 and stated:

"We will continue to train Afghan forces so they can provide security
for the Afghan people.

"[A]s the long-term partnership that President Karzai and I signed at
Lisbon demonstrates, our commitment to Afghanistan will continue well
beyond 2014. NATO will also remain engaged with Pakistan....

"I welcome the release today of the United States' annual review on
Afghanistan and Pakistan. It builds on the decisions on Afghanistan
that NATO Allies and Partners took at our summit in Lisbon." [6]

What the Pentagon and NATO are training Afghan troops for is in part
to ensure that the 1,700-kilometer (1,050-mile) TAPI pipeline running
from the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan to India - with
transshipment to nations like Japan, South Korea and China in the
offing - will function unimpeded.

The pipeline is to be started in 2012, completed two years later and
provide 33 billion cubic meters (over one trillion cubic feet) of
Turkmen gas to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. According to the
recently signed agreement, India and Pakistan will each receive 14
billion and Afghanistan 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

The undertaking is being financed by the Asian Development Bank in
which the U.S. and Japan each hold 552,210 shares, the largest
proportion of shares among its 67 members at 12.756 percent apiece.

The pipeline will run from Turkmenistan's Dovletabat (also Dovletabad
and Dauletabad) field along the 350-mile Herat-Kandahar Highway in
Afghanistan to the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, Quetta,
to the Fazlaka region on the Indian-Pakistani border.

Five years ago the Asian Development Bank estimated gross natural gas
reserves at Dovletabat to be 49.5 trillion cubic feet (1.4 trillion
cubic meters). Turkmenistan also intends to include the new Southern
Yoloten-Osman field, where government geologists estimate there are
over 21 trillion cubic meters of gas, to fill the TAPI pipeline.

The inauguration of TAPI is the realization of plans going back to
four years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1995, the year
before the Taliban consolidated control of Afghanistan. One of its
prime movers was the Union Oil Company of California (Unocal), which
merged with and became a subsidiary of Chevron in the same year.

Former Secretary of State and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Alexander
Haig visited Turkmenistan in 1992, immediately after it became an
independent state for the first time, after which he became "an
unofficial adviser and confident" to President Saparmurat Niyazov,
"screening foreign companies and helping arrange a Niyazov visit to
Washington in 1993." [7]

Haig's dealings, which would later be augmented by the likes of Henry
Kissinger and Zalmay Khalilzad, were part of U.S. strategy in the
Caspian Sea region, which was to:

"Tap the Caspian mother lodes while giving as little leverage as
possible to Russia in the north and Iran in the south.

"Across the Caspian, Azerbaijan had already enlisted U.S. oil
companies and pulled the Clinton administration into a crusade to
build pipelines that would skirt Russia on the way to the Black Sea
and the Mediterranean. In Kazakhstan, the Clinton administration
[risked] provoking Moscow again by promoting pipelines that would
carry Kazakh oil to western markets without Russian interference."

In 1995 the White House blocked a deal between ConocoPhillips and Iran
for the transiting of gas from Turkmenistan through the first country.
"To State Department strategists, the perfect pipeline out of
Dauletabad lay in a different direction: from Turkmenistan across
Afghanistan to Pakistan, connecting the gas resources of Central Asia
to the surging economies of South Asia. Such a line would deprive Iran
of transit fees for Turkmen gas crossing its territory while capturing
the South Asian gas market coveted by Iran." [8]

In the same year the president of Unocal, John Imle, "wooed Niyazov
and Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan...with a vision of
a Unocal pipeline" running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. According to
the Washington Post three years after the fact: "A Unocal link had
strong appeal for Niyazov. Afghanistan was in turmoil. A big American
oil company could draw on the political muscle of the United
States...." [9]

Later in the year President Niyazov announced the selection of Unocal
to construct the pipeline, which Henry Kissinger - at the time a
Unocal consultant - deemed "the triumph of hope over experience."
(Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, while Director of the Strategy,
Doctrine, and Force Structure at the RAND Corporation, consulted for
Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which at the time was conducting
a risk analysis for Unocal on what is now the
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. He later became
U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan after the invasion of 2001, then
ambassador to Iraq and the United Nations.}

Unocal opened an office in Kandahar, which the media unfailingly
recall is the "spiritual birthplace of the Taliban," in 1996 as the
latter were completing their conquest of Afghanistan.

In 1997 a senior Taliban delegation arrived in the U.S. to meet with
Unocal officials. At the time a Unocal spokesman said "the Taleban
were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in
Sugarland, Texas" and it was confirmed that "Unocal says it has
agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to
buy it." [10]

After last week's agreement was signed in Turkmenistan to complete 15
years of U.S. plans, the BBC reported that "The pipeline will have to
cross Taliban-controlled regions and Pakistan's troubled border
region. The US has also encouraged the project as an alternative to a
proposed Iranian pipeline to India and Pakistan." [11]

In fact TAPI is the American alternative to what until then-Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice pressured - in fact blackmailed - Pakistan
and India in 2005 to kill the project was referred to as the peace
pipeline: One which was to transport Caspian Sea Basin natural gas
from Iran to Pakistan and India (the IPI pipeline) and from there to
China. The joint endeavor would indeed have promoted cooperation and
peace not only between Pakistan and India but between India and China
as well.

Washington - the White House, the State Department and Congress -
linked India's agreeing to abandon the IPI project and cooperate with
the U.S. punishing Iran in the United Nations Security Council over
its civilian nuclear power program with actualizing the provisions of
the framework agreement signed by President George W. Bush and Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005 on full nuclear
collaboration. The U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative.

"The Americans had, so far, largely ignored India's ties with Iran,
which grew impressively during the late 1990s....The tipping point
came when both sides, along with Pakistan, began seriously to consider
the construction of the 2,600-km Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the first time publicly
aired her concerns about the prospective deal during her visit to New
Delhi in March 2005." [12]

Also in 2005 Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business
Affairs E. Anthony Wayne told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"Both Chinese and Indian firms have reportedly been involved in oil
and gas-sector deals in Iran that raise concerns under US law and

"For example, Indian and Pakistani officials are engaged in detailed
discussions on the technical, financial and legal aspects of building
a USD 4 billion pipeline that would bring Iranian natural gas to
Pakistan and India, a project that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
has said also raises US concerns." [13]

India formally withdrew from the project in 2009 and in January of
this year Washington prevailed upon Pakistan to abandon the pipeline
in exchange for the U.S. constructing a liquefied natural gas terminal
and arranging the supply of electricity from Tajikistan through

"With the Asian Development Bank backing the TAPI project unlike the
IPI pipeline" currently:

"Besides putting the IPI pipeline in cold storage, the TAPI pipeline
could also push back moves to bring Turkmenistan gas via northern
Iran. Talks were held earlier in this respect on exchanging it with
Iranian gas, which would have been sent to India and other countries
from an under-sea pipeline. This pipeline would have been one of the
branches of a Middle East natural gas gathering system." [14]

Last month Turkmenistan was also recruited to supply natural gas for
the Nabucco pipeline running in the opposite direction, west through
Azerbaijan and Georgia to Europe, to further U.S. strategy to squeeze
Russia out of that market.

"Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrad Hoyamuhamedov said the country
would supply natural gas for the planned Nabucco pipeline. Hence, EU
countries would no longer have to worry about uncertain natural gas
supplies." Which means "the European bloc will have to rely less on
Russia for its growing gas requirement."

"The pledge also means the construction of the planned 2046-mile
pipeline can go ahead as uncertainty over its gas supplies had caused
delay. Nabucco will transport gas from the Caspian region and the
Middle East across Turkey into Europe.

"At present, Turkmenistan sells natural gas to Iran, China and
Russia." [15]

In fact, in late November the Turkmen government pledged to "provide
up to 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, more than the
planned capacity of Nabucco which is 31 billion per year." [16]

As such Nabucco will be "drawing gas from Turkmenistan in addition to
Azerbaijan and Iraqi Kurdistan" in what Christian Dolezal,
spokesperson for the Nabucco Consortium (Nabucco Gas Pipeline
International GmbH), called a "remarkable step."

"Dolezal said the first gas supplies for Nabucco are expected to come
from Azerbaijan ? about 8 billion cubic meters per year at first, of
which 6 billion could come from the Shah Deniz 2 field. Another 10
billion cubic meters are expected from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the
consortium is awaiting the outcome of talks with the Iraqi government.

"The construction of the Nabucco gas transit pipeline will start in
2012, and the first natural gas deliveries through it should be a fact
in 2015...." [17]

The Nabucco pipeline will supplement previous Western-initiated
projects like the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum
natural gas pipelines beginning in Azerbaijan and proceeding westward
through Georgia to Turkey.

A previous article in this series detailed that the overall strategy
is "not limited to efforts to muscle into nations and regions rich in
oil and natural gas (and uranium), nor to employing fair means or
foul, peaceful or otherwise, to seize the commanding heights of the
international energy market.

"The overarching objective is to control the ownership, transport and
consumption of energy worldwide. To determine who receives oil and
natural gas, through which routes and at which prices. And to dictate
what the political and military quid pro quo will be for being invited
to join a U.S.-dominated international energy transportation and
accessibility network.

"Azerbaijan and Georgia are salient examples. The last two-named
nations have increased their military budgets by well over 1,000
percent in the first case and by over 3,000 percent in the second in
the span of a few years.

"In the Caspian Sea Basin and its neighborhood, which takes in the
Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater and the turbulent and explosive
Caucasus, Azerbaijan last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of
what was called the Contract of the Century in 1994, engineered by the
United States and Britain to open up the Caspian region to Western
energy companies.

"The intent of all of them is to prevent Iran from exporting
hydrocarbons to Europe and to expel Russia entirely from its previous
contracts to provide Europe with natural gas and Caspian oil. Russia
currently supplies the European Union with 30 percent of its gas, but
the West - the U.S. and its EU allies - is well on its way to
replacing Russian oil and gas with supplies from Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and from Iraq and North Africa through
Turkey where all of the three pipelines [Nabucco, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum] end." [18]

In addition to transforming Azerbaijan and Georgia into U.S. and NATO
outposts in the South Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea - Azerbaijan
borders both Iran and Russia and Georgia borders Russia - Washington
and its North Atlantic military bloc are increasing military ties with
the other Caspian coastal states, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

The expanding American and NATO role in Central and South Asia - in
Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - is
inextricably connected with NATO nations' Eurasian energy strategies.

In 2008 Matthew Bryza, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
European and Eurasian Affairs, delivered an address which contained
these assertions:

"The East-West Corridor we had been building from Turkey and the Black
Sea through Georgia and Azerbaijan and across the Caspian became the
strategic air corridor, and the lifeline, into Afghanistan allowing
the United States and our coalition partners to conduct Operation
Enduring Freedom."

"Our goal is to develop a 'Southern Corridor' of energy infrastructure
to transport Caspian and Iraqi oil and gas to Turkey and Europe. The
Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) and Nabucco natural gas pipelines are key
elements of the Southern Corridor."

"Potential gas supplies in Turkmenistan and Iraq can provide the
crucial additional volumes beyond those in Azerbaijan to realize the
Southern Corridor.

"Washington and [Turkey] are working together with Baghdad to help
Iraq develop its own large natural gas reserves for both domestic
consumption and for export to Turkey and the EU." [19]

The U.S. and Britain led NATO Partnership for Peace military exercises
in Kazakhstan, from where the West plans to construct a pipeline under
the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, last August, and the country has
recently agreed to allow overflights to the U.S. and NATO for the war
in Afghanistan. [20]

In August it was disclosed that U.S. military equipment is being
transferred from Iraq to Afghanistan "via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the
Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan." [21]

Despite its formal status of neutrality, Turkmenistan has allowed the
transit of American and NATO "armored vehicles, combat helicopters and
crates of ammunition" to the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater.

In addition, the U.S. "has gained access to use almost all the
military airfields of Turkmenistan, including the airport in Nebit-Dag
near the Iranian border" and "An American military contingent is
located in Ashgabat to oversee the operations related to refueling of
military airplanes. NATO is also trying to open up a land corridor to
bring freight by road and rail...." [22]

The second station of the soon-to-be-launched
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is Herat, the capital
city of the Afghan province of the same name which borders eastern

>From there it will head to Kandahar, where the U.S. and NATO have
>been conducting what the Western press refers to as the "battle for
>Kandahar" since August in an attempt to clear the area of Taliban
>fighters and sympathizers.

The pipeline will then proceed to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

The U.S. and NATO have expanded the Afghan war into Pakistan's
Federally Administered Tribal Areas and increasingly into Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa. It has also launched attacks inside Balochistan and has
pressured the Pakistani government to permit them to conduct
full-scale military operations in the province.

In October NATO helicopters crossed 200 meters into Balochistan.

In the same month it was reported that "US officials may be eying a
repeat of the cross-border incident by seeking raids into

"US military officials [are] advocating crossing the border with US
forces and expanding the war formally into Pakistan." [23]

Last month the U.S. Defense Department presented a report to Congress
revealing that "Pakistan Army General Headquarters recently approved
an ODRP and Coalition presence at the PAKMIL 12 Corps HQ in Quetta,
Balochistan." [24]

ODRP stands for the Pentagon's Office of Defense Representative,
Pakistan and Coalition is a reference to NATO's International Security
Assistance Force.

A U.S. military buildup in Balochistan presents a direct threat to
Iran, whose province of Sistan and Baluchistan borders the Pakistani
province, the largest provinces in the respective nations. The U.S. is
accused of supporting separatist elements in the Iranian territory and
could exploit Baloch agents on the Pakistani side of the border in an
attempt to destabilize Iran.

Three years ago China completed a port in Gwadar on Balochistan's
Arabian Sea coastline, which is to be expanded into a deep-sea port
and naval base with Chinese technical and financial assistance.

China also intends to turn the port into an energy transit center for
oil and natural gas originating from Iran and other parts of the
Middle East as well as Africa and plans to construct an oil pipeline
from Gwadar to China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The TAPI and related pipeline projects will not only adversely affect
Iran and Russia.

Turkmen gas that had formerly flowed through Russia and Iran will now
be diverted via the TAPI and Nabucco pipelines - as many as 73 billion
cubic meters - strengthening the West's influence in the region in a
number of spheres, including in regards to energy, transport,
financial and economic, political and military matters.


The NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A) was launched at the
military bloc's sixtieth anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France and
Kehl, Germany last year, and after this year's summit in Portugal
thousands of new trainers have been pledged by NATO member states.

According to the NATO website,

"NTM-A brings together efforts to train the Afghan National Security
Forces (ANSF) with the aim of increasing coherence and effectiveness
among all contributors. Support to the ANSF including the building of
an Afghan institutional training base for both the Afghan National
Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) and coordinating
international efforts to train, equip and sustain these forces.

"The NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A) operates under a
dual-hatted command, with one commander for both the US-led Combined
Security Transition Command- Afghanistan (CSTC-A) and the NATO
Training Mission ? Afghanistan. The mission provides a higher-level
training for the Afghan National Army (ANA), including defense
colleges and academies, as well as being responsible for doctrine
development, and training and advising Afghan National Police (ANP)."

The NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan is modeled after the NATO
Training Mission ? Iraq [26], established by a decision made at the
2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Its first commander was General
David Petraeus, now in charge of over 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops in

The NATO Training Mission ? Iraq is the model for building from the
top down the armed forces of a conquered and subjugated nation by the
Western alliance, including training military and security forces to
guard the country's energy infrastructure.

In Iraq and now even more so in Afghanistan, NATO is assisting the
U.S. in achieving vital geopolitical objectives in strategically vital
parts of the world.

1) The Hindu, December 13, 2010
2) Daily Times, December 12, 2010/Asian News International, December
13, 2010 3) Agence France-Presse, December 13, 2010 4) NATO Training
Mission Meets Procurement, Training Goals
U.S. Department of Defense, December 16, 2010
5) Spencer Ackerman, Army Set to Award Mega-Contract to Train Afghan
Danger Room, December 16, 2010
6) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, December 16, 2010
7) David B. Ottaway and Dan Morgan, Gas Pipeline Bounces Between
Washington Post, October 5, 1998
8) Ibid 9) Ibid 10) Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline
BBC News, December 4, 1997
11) BBC News, December 11, 2010
12) The Hindu, August 25, 2005
13) Press Trust of India, July 27, 2005
14) The Hindu, December 13, 2010
15) Industrial Fuels and Power, November 22, 2010
16) Nabucco Spokesman: Turkmenistan Natural Gas Promise 'Remarkable'
Sofia News Agency, November 25, 2010
17) Ibid
18) West Using Its Military Might To Control World Energy Resources:
Pentagon's Global Mission To Secure Oil And Gas Supplies
Stop NATO, September 22, 2009
19) U.S. Department of State, June 24, 2008
20) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
21) Azeri Press Agency, August 20, 2010
22) Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Is the U.S. Violating Turkmenistan's
with the NDN?
EurasiaNet, August 1, 2010
23) Asian News International, October 15, 2010
24) Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan
November 2010
25) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
26) Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Stop NATO, August 13, 2010


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Message: 2
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 16:33:17 -0800 (PST)
From: Rick Rozoff <rwrozoff at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Stop NATO] Russia Warns South Korea Against Provocations To:
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December 17, 2010

Russia warns Seoul against provocations

Russia?s Foreign Ministry has called upon South Korea to desist from
any live-fire artillery drills in the South Sea basin from December 18
to 21. The ministry believes that such a move on Seoul?s part could
lead to further aggravation in the peninsula.

The Russian Foreign Ministry thinks it is crucial to ease the tension
in relations between the two Koreas. The ministry stressed to all
countries involved that it was absolutely vital to resume dialog and
resolve all disputes between the two nations through diplomatic and
political means.

Russia has also urged all countries concerned to show as much
restraint as possible and ward off any moves that could trigger
further escalation on the peninsula.

The tensions between the two Koreas that had exacerbated recently
erupted into a full-blown armed conflict on November 23, 2010. Seoul
reported that North Korea had opened fire at around 8:30 a.m. Moscow
time at South Korea?s Yeongyeong island, which lies close to the
border. South Korea returned fire using howitzers and launched F-16

Meanwhile, North Korea accused its southern neighbor of initiating the
gunfire. According to Pyongyang, the shelling of North Korea started
at 7 a.m. Moscow time, prompting the national army to retaliate. Four
South Koreans were killed in the attack, including two civilians, and
over 10 more were wounded, with dozens of buildings on the island



Xinhua News Agency
December 20, 2010

S Korean military to conduct live-fire drills Monday

SEOUL: The South Korean military is to carry out live-fire military
drills in the sea near Yeontyeong Island on Monday, a Defense Ministry
spokesman told Xinhua.


Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 19, 2010

Russia's draft UN statement proposes sending envoy to Koreas

New York: Russia's draft statement to the United Nations Security
Council proposes sending a special envoy to Seoul and Pyongyang to
resolve the conflict peacefully, a UN source said.

The draft statement also calls on the sides to "show maximum

The closed-door emergency meeting of the United Nations Security
Council is being held at Russia's request on Sunday. Participants are
discussing a Russian draft statement calling on both North and South
Korea to refrain from the escalation of the conflict.

Russia's envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin reiterated on Sunday that
Russia was seriously concerned over further escalation between the two
Koreas because the current situation in the region "directly affects
the national security interests of the Russian Federation."

"We believe that the Security Council must send a restraining signal
to the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and DPRK [North Korea], and
help launch diplomatic activity with a view to resolving all issues of
dispute between the two Korean sides by political and diplomatic
means," Churkin said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are high since Seoul unveiled plans
to hold exercises on Yeonpyeong Island on December 18-21. Pyongyang
blasted the move saying its response would be "deadlier" than the
shelling in November that killed four South Koreans on the island.

South Korea has postponed the drills until Monday citing poor weather
conditions, but vowed to proceed with the planned exercises despite
threats from Pyongyang and calls for restraint from Russia and China.


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