Wednesday, June 30, 2010

FP morning brief 6/30

Moscow and Washington say spy arrests won't affect relations

Top story: While Russian leaders initially reacted angrily to the U.S. arrest of 11 suspects on charges of spying for Russia, Moscow has now softened its tone with on foreign ministry official saying the arrests would "not negatively affect Russian-U.S. relations."

While Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton that U.S. police had "got out of control," he too said that "the positive that has been accumulated in the recent time in our international relations will not suffer."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that "I think we have made a new start to working together on things like the United Nations, dealing with North Korea and Iran... I do not think that this will affect those relations."

It's becoming clear that despite the elaborate nature of the spy ring, none of those arrested were in particularly sensitive positions and it appears unlikely that damaging information was gained. "The effort is out of proportion to the alleged benefits," said former CIA Moscow station chief Richard Stoltz. "I just don’t understand what they expected.”

Afghanistan: Gen. David Petraeus was confirmed by the senate as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after an uneventful Senate hearing.

Middle East
  • A Colombian court has handed down the first sentences for convicted leaders of illegal right-wing militias.
  • The U.S. has rejected accusations by former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya that it was behind the coup that ousted him.
  • A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit a sparsely populated area of Southern Mexico.
-By Joshua Keating


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