Skip to main content

Arctic Watch: Top Developments this week

Moscow expels senior Norwegian diplomat
Two weeks ago Norway did the same, after discovering a ‘spy case’ involving a Norwegian citizen and a Russian diplomat. Last week I wondered whether it was possible that Russia would not react to the expulsion. Russia’s response came in the symbolic gesture of doing the same. It’s the senior diplomat Jan Flæte, counsellor at the Norwegian embassy in Moscow, that was asked to leave the country in the next 72 hours, by order of the Russian Foreign Ministry. However, according to the Barents Observer, this expulsion is seen by Norway as an escalation, because the Norwegian diplomat had a higher diplomatic rank than the Russian diplomat Aleksandr Stekolshchikov, expelled by Norway. While the Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman was saying that Norway and Russia would maintain their cooperation, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlights that «the responsibility for the consequences of such a policy fully lies in Oslo», predicting the deterioration of bilateral relations (IBO).
 
After years of growth comes decline for Russian Arctic seaports
Last week, numbers from the Russian Association of Sea Trade Ports showed that Russia’s northern ports and terminals handled 10.2% less goods for the first seven months of 2020 than in the same period last year, The Barents Observer reports. This is the first year when cargo volumes have decreased. Oil is the biggest reason for the decrease, with shipping and reloading of oil from Russia’s Arctic oil fields decreasing by almost 10% in the period. The LNG segment, however, has seen modest growth. In the first half of 2020, a total of 16.2 million tons of goods were handled in Sabetta, a 0.8% increase from the same period in 2019. Taken together, these numbers reflect the general situation of shipping in the Russian Arctic. According to the Russian Northern Sea Route Administration, a total of 14.8 million tons of goods were shipping in the Arctic shipping route in the first half of 2020 (IBO). Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin also told journalists last week that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp decline in the amount of freight shipped via the Northern Sea Route against target indicators (Arctic.ru).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Menon meets Karzai, discusses security of Indians

Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country. Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects. The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered. Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul atta

Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth

Rethink before It’s Too Late http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/index.php?Lang=en&Page=21&TypeId=15&ArticleId=7108&BranchId=19&Action=ArticleBodyView Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth –Afghanistan. By Houman Dolati It is no more a surprise to see Iran absent in Afghanistan affairs. Nowadays, the Bonn Conference and Iran’s contributions to Afghanistan look more like a fading memory. Iran, which had promised of loans and credit worth five-hundred million dollars for Afghanistan, and tried to serve a key role, more than many other countries, for reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, is now trying to efface that memory, saying it is a wrong path, even for the international community. Iran’s empty seat in the Rome Conference was another step backward for Afghanistan’s influential neighbor. Many other countries were surprised with Iran’s absence. Finding out the vanity of its efforts to justify absence in Rome, Iran tried to start its

Pakistani firm whose chemicals were used to kill US troops seeks subsidy for Indiana plant

By Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel Published March 22, 2013   A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana.  The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making.  For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops.  The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the