16 (UPI) — China and Russia plan to expand cooperation on energy projects, including oil and gas supply, nuclear energy and renewable energy, government officials said. “China is willing to expand all-around energy cooperation with Russia. We hope the two sides can work together to ensure the increase of Russian oil supplies to China, expand cooperation in upstream oil projects and set a refinery joint venture in Tianjin as a pilot project,” Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli was quoted as saying in the Xinhua report. Zhang’s comments followed a meeting of a China-Russia energy cooperation committee in Beijing, which he co-chaired with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday. Last month, China imported more oil than any other country in the world, including the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. Chinese customs statistics show net imports of about 6.47 million barrels a day of crude and products in September, The Financial Times reports. The Chinese vice premier also said China hopes to work with Russia on natural gas and nuclear energy projects, to boost coal and electricity imports from Russia and to expand cooperation in fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. “The Chinese leadership attaches great importance to developing the comprehensive relations of strategic cooperation and partnership with Russia,” Zhang said, adding that energy cooperation is an important component of their partnership. Dvorkovich, the Russian deputy prime minister, said Moscow is ready to work with Beijing to take advantage of each other’s competitiveness and achieve new alliances in energy sectors, Xinhua reports. A Wood Mackenzie report last month estimated Russia’s energy trade with China could quadruple by 2025, to more than 100 million tons of oil equivalent.
Russia tepid about results of Iran nuclear talks
The defense said a company run by Pyotr Ofitserov Navalny’s co-defendant, who also was given a suspended sentence of five years bought the timber for 14 million rubles and sold it for 16 million rubles in a regular commercial transaction. Navalny, who spent much of the court session tweeting, was characteristically sarcastic and upbeat. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia react at the end of a hearing in a court After the judge read out the sentence, Navalny told journalists he had no doubt that the decision had been made “personally by Vladimir Putin,” and said that “the authorities are doing their utmost to pull me out of the political fight.” Under current law, Navalny is banned from running for political office for life. But last week Russia’s highest court ruled that parts of the law were unconstitutional and asked the legislature to amend it so that people would only be barred for the duration of their sentence. The law has been controversial in a country where, according to a 2011 survey by the Moscow-based Center for Legal and Economic Studies, one in six business people have faced criminal charges, and about 120,000 people are in jail for alleged economic crimes. If those changes are implemented, Navalny would be able to run for office starting in July 2018, missing the next presidential election by only a few months. In the meantime, Navalny has said he will concentrate on the city council elections in Moscow next year. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks to his wife Yulia in a court room in a Kirov court i The authorities, who control almost everything in elections from advertising space to, in some cases, the ballot box itself, are gambling that Navalny will be less dangerous out of prison than in. “The authorities are playing with the opposition. They want it to be integrated into the political system but on the conditions they establish,” said Alexei Makarkin, an analyst at the Center for Political Technologies. “What the state doesn’t want are massive street protests.” While Navalny’s chants of “We are the power!” came to define the protests, he will likely become a less visible participant in coming years. Even detention at a protest could convert his suspended sentence into a real one.
Russia: Court decides not to imprison Navalny
After discussions in Geneva involving Iran and the five U.N. Security Council members – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – and Germany, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said he saw no guarantee of progress in future talks. “The result is better than in Almaty (talks in April), but it does not guarantee further progress, there could have been better cooperation,” Ryabkov was quoted by Interfax as saying. “One of the reasons was an exceptionally low level of mutual trust, almost the lack of required trust,” he was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass. “The positions of the Iranian side and the group (of six powers) are wide apart from each other – the distance can be measured in kilometers, while advances forward can be measured in steps – half a meter each.” Western diplomats praised the two-day round, expressing hope of success in further talks set for November 7-8, again in Geneva. The Islamic Republic began negotiations with the six powers after Hassan Rouhani was elected president in June, promising conciliation over confrontation in relations with the rest of the world. Ryabkov said the rhetoric of the nuclear talks was different due to the change of leadership. “We felt that indeed the tone of talks, the character of discussions reflected those changes,” he was quoted as saying. “At the same time the talks were difficult, at times tense, at times unpredictable.” Western powers and their allies suspect Tehran is seeking the capability to produce nuclear bombs. Iran denies it, saying its nuclear program is peaceful. Iran has for years demanded the West lift sanctions on its oil and banking sector and recognize its right to enrich uranium before it makes any concessions. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Andrew Roche)