Russia and Netherlands spat over arrest of a Russian diplomat; Russia says Afghanistan is not ready for the pullout of NATO forces; Russia and USA sign an agreement on national nuclear threat reduction centres; Russia-Japan talks held; Russia offers the E
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  • According to reports, a diplomatic standoff between Russia and Netherlands has emerged over the incident of a Russian diplomat being beaten and arrested by Dutch police over his alleged mistreatment of his children. 1

    In another development, according to reports, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that current developments in Afghanistan indicate that Afghan security forces will not be in position to take control of law and order in the country after the withdrawal of NATO-led forces. He reiterated that a political settlement of the situation in Afghanistan is possible only through dialogue that should include all political, ethnic and religious groups working together to form a government of national unity. 2

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have signed, on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bali, an agreement on the national nuclear threat reduction centres. 3

    Reports noted that Russian Vice-Premier Arkadiy Dvorkovich met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Kyoto on October 6, 2013. The main agenda of discussions were economic in nature and called on the necessity to hold a meeting of the Consultative Council on modernization of Russia. 4

    At the East Asia Summit (EAS) meeting held in Bali, Russia has offered the EAS partners to think about setting up a network university, adding that such an arrangement is currently operational within the ambit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. He added that Russia remains ready to engage the potential of Far Eastern Federal University which hosted the APEC summit in 20125

    According to reports, Russia will centralize its space industry in a bid to combat major inefficiencies and cut down on the misuse of funds. The proposed United Rocket and Space Corporation will be created to take over manufacturing facilities from the Federal Space Agency. 6

    Gazprom has confirmed the gas production forecast of 495 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2013 with its daily output projected to be 1.7 billion bcm by the end of this year. In 2012, Gazprom had produced 487 bcm of gas. 7

    Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that the work to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons is running smoothly. 8

    In other developments, according to reports, Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that it will take six to nine months to find a mutually acceptable solution concerning Iran’s nuclear program. 9

    Acting US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller has said that decommissioned Russian warheads are fuelling approximately half of the nuclear energy in United States. Under a 1993 non-proliferation deal, the United States had purchased uranium derived from around 20,000 Russian nuclear warheads (eliminated under the accord and informally known as the “Megatons to Megawatts” program) and converted the material into nuclear fuel to be used by nearly all US nuclear power plants. 10

    The International Monetary Fund in its annual World Economic Outlook report has said that Russia’s economic model has exhausted itself and predicted that future growth will be constrained by negative demographic trends. 11

    As part of Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil’s visit to Moscow, Russia and Lebanon have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the energy sphere. Russia’s energy companies Rosneft, Gazprom, Novatek and LUKoil have all expressed interest in 10 hydrocarbon-rich blocks off the Lebanese coast for which licenses are expected to be awarded in early 2014. 12

    Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said that the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya will leave Russia’s territorial waters for India on November 30. 13