In brief | Nation & World, 05-25-14


Putin: West ignores Russia’s interests in Ukraine by holding open door to NATO membership

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that he does not believe there will be a new Cold War with the United States, and Russia does not want it.

But he warned that Russia’s interests must be taken seriously and accused the West of having ignored Russia’s concerns over Ukraine. He also criticized Britain’s Prince Charles’ reported recent remarks comparing him to Hitler as “unacceptable” and “not royal behavior.”

“I wouldn’t like to think that this is the start of a new Cold War — we’re not interested in that and I don’t believe it will happen,” Putin said when asked about the future of U.S.-Russian relations, which are at their lowest point in the two decades since the end of the Soviet Union because of the crisis in Ukraine.

He said there have been many points of contact and cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in recent years, but “these instruments are only good when they are really used, if they are really platforms for bilateral work. These platforms are not there for us to drink tea or coffee. These are platforms for searching for compromise.”

Speaking to representatives of major news agencies, including The Associated Press, on the margins of a major economic forum in this former imperial capital, Putin accused Western politicians of interfering in Ukraine without taking into account how important Russia sees its neighbor to its own security and economic interests.

Officials: Bungled explosion, 2nd in a week, kills 3 at outdoor theater in Jos, Nigeria

JOS, Nigeria — A bungled bomb killed three people, including a suicide bomber, in Nigeria’s Jos city Saturday night, a police official said, four days after twin car bombs blamed on Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in the central city.

The senior police official said the bomber dropped a bag holding explosives at an outdoor theater crowded with people watching a European soccer cup final. He said the bomber and two others died. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not the official spokesman.

The venue is not far from the bustling marketplace that was targeted in Tuesday’s attack.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the latest attack.

But the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been threatening to sell nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls into slavery, has been waging a two-pronged campaign of urban bombings and rural attacks on northeastern villages.

After tensions over ouster, Egypt’s el-Sissi says his election win will help repair US ties

CAIRO — Egypt’s likely next president, retired military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, says ties with the United States will improve after elections next week, confident that a strong show of public support will prove to the Americans that Egyptians wanted his ouster of the country’s elected president, which threw relations between the two allies into their worst strains ever.

But it will likely be a troubled road toward warming the chill between Cairo and Washington. Egypt’s security forces have waged a fierce crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist backers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

El-Sissi, considered certain to win presidential elections taking place Monday and Tuesday, has made clear he wants better ties — but on his terms. The retired field marshal has also raised worries in Egypt and the United States over potential restrictions on freedoms and civil rights, with his tough line against dissent as he pushes for stability he says is needed to repair the economy.

Tamara Cofman Wittes, the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, described the Egyptian-US relations as in a moment of reflection because direction is not clear.

Both sides “know their relations are important. They value the cooperation ... but publicly they are reluctant to engage,” Wittes said.

By wire sources