default Chico Harlan and Howard Schneider Some in Europe and Asia say they are stunned at the quixotic partisan fervor shaking global economic pillar. Abigail Hauslouhner, Anne Gearan and Scott Wilson U.S. decision to cut aid comes three months after military coup to oust democratically elected president. Anne Gearan Secretary apologizes for Obamas absence at the annual session, meets with Chinese premier. Diplomat Dmitry Borodin was arrested Saturday by police in The Hague over what Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich called an absolutely contrived allegation of child abuse. His arrest breached the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, Timmermans said in a statement Wednesday. The Netherlands offers the Russian Federation its apologies. Still, the minister said he understood the action of police who arrested Borodin a statement unlikely to appease Russian demands for action against the officers. The two nations remain in talks about the situation. Alexei Pushkov, chief of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Russias parliament, wasnt satisfied. The Hague has offered us its excuses, but it has effectively sought to justify the police action, calling it professional. So, there are excuses but there is no one to blame, he tweeted. Police have declined to comment on the incident. Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported that police had traced a car involved in an accident that day to Borodins home, and neighbors told police they were worried for the safety of the children inside. The Dutch-Russian spat shifted to another topic Wednesday as Russia questioned the quality of one of the Netherlands key exports cheese. The chief of Russias agriculture products agency was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying a Russian delegation inspecting Dutch cheese-making facilities was not satisfied with the quality of the product. Agency head Sergei Dankvert said the results were preliminary and a full report would come later.
Moscow is building its own trade alliance with former Soviet republics and is reluctant to see its neighbors, particularly Ukraine, slip further out of its sway by signing free-trade and political association agreements with the EU. Lithuania, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and joined the EU in 2004, has had transport trucks held up at Russian customs for up to 20 days at a time in recent weeks, causing heavy losses for its freight industry. Taking aim at another sector, the Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor said inspections of Lithuanian dairy imports had revealed “numerous violations” of quality and sanitary standards in products including cheeses and yoghurt. “We are seeing a sharp weakening of (Lithuania’s) position on protecting the rights and safety of consumers,” Rospotrebnadzor chief Gennady Onishchenko said, according to the Interfax news agency. Lithuania exported dairy products worth $193 million to Russia last year, according to the Russian National Milk Producers’ Union – the vast majority of it cheese that is found on many shop shelves. Russia is also stepping up monitoring of Lithuanian meat and fish imports, state-run news agency Prime reported, citing an unidentified source. Rospotrebnadzor declined to comment. POLITICAL PRESSURE Onishchenko regularly denies any geopolitical motives, but past bans on products from ex-Soviet republics – such as wine and mineral water from Georgia – have been widely seen as a form of political pressure. In Brussels, the European Commission said it had “complete confidence” in the quality of Lithuanian dairy products and called for discussions with the Russian side. “The EU has the most stringent system in the world when it comes to food safety,” Frederic Vincent, Commission spokesman for health and consumer policy, told a regular press briefing. Of the 15 former republics that became independent states when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, only the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have joined the EU. But the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy, designed to draw six other ex-Soviet states closer to the European fold, has run up against President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to revive Moscow’s sway by promoting closer ties among its former vassals.