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February 2010

What Was Erdogan Silent About?

By John Fox

The fact that a meeting of NATO countries on the issues of strategy in Afghanistan in early February was held in Turkey's Istanbul looks symbolic enough. Turkey as a member of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance is the most eastern of its member countries not only geographically, but it is closest to the Muslim East by mentality. On the other hand, Turkey aims to join the EU, though it faces the resistance from some countries, first of all France. Istanbul – the former Constantinople – is officially included on the list of the European Capitals of Culture this year. As we know, the city is located in the western part of Turkey and, what's more important, is not only a treasury of Islamic religion and culture, but also one of the historic centers of Christian Civilization. READ MORE

Lithuania Will Strengthen Economic Cooperation With Turkey

"Lithuania is interested in the successful development of transport and energy infrastructure projects connecting the Baltic and Black Sea regions," President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė said at the meeting with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bağiş. READ MORE

EU Foreign Policy At A Crossroads

By Nicolas Nagle

Since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on Dec. 1, 2009, the European Union's foreign policy has taken the first steps toward an institutional restructuring. Lisbon introduced a permanent president of the European Council as well as the post of high representative (HR) for foreign affairs, and established a European foreign service corps known as the European Action Service (EAS). READ MORE

Interview with Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan

“We want to put an end to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh by peaceful means…but at the same time, our patience also has limits.” READ MORE

Tajikistan Facing Water Shortages And Climate Extremes, Report Warns

By John Vidal

Falling supplies due to rising temperatures and retreating glaciers could spark conflict between water-stressed countries in the region, says Oxfam READ MORE

Bulgarian Government Skeptical on South Stream Project

By Vladimir Socor

Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller held talks in Sofia on February 16 “to activate work on the South Stream project in Bulgaria”. Bulgaria is the country most pivotal to South Stream. The pipeline is planned to run from Russia across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and from that country to bifurcate toward central and southern Europe. READ MORE

Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship Seeks Long-Term Peace in South Caucasus

OSCE should play a bigger role in the South Caucasus in working toward peaceful settlement of protracted conflicts and democratic processes in the region. This was the consensus during the meetings in Baku, Yerevan, and Tbilisi, as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, visited the three capitals on his first visit to a region with the organization’s field presence on February 15-17. READ MORE

What Price Russia’s Help With Iran?

By John Vinocur

Russia, it would seem, is finally making some of the right noises about tougher sanctions against Iran. Excellent. READ MORE

The 'Reset' At One Year: The View From Moscow

By Brian Whitmore

Vladimir Putin was in favor of Barack Obama's reconfigured missile defense plan before he was against it. READ MORE

Nordic And Baltic Countries United By Common Interests And New Opportunities

Integration of the energy market and a more dynamic cooperation of the Baltic countries in foreign and security policies would provide an additional impetus to the development of the Nordic-Baltic region, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined at the meeting with members of the Nordic Council of Ministers. READ MORE

EUBAM inaugurates office in Chisinau

The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) opened a field office in Chisinau in order to better assist Moldova's Customs Service and Border Guard Service in securing the border and facilitating trade and contacts over the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. READ MORE

Armenia Showcases Iran Ties, As Talks With Azerbaijan And Turkey Falter

By Emil Danielyan

Armenia is showcasing its close relationship with Iran at a delicate time in its negotiations with two other, less friendly neighbors: Azerbaijan and Turkey. With the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the resolution of the Karabakh conflict looking increasingly problematic, authorities in Yerevan seem to be hedging their bets by pursuing more multi-million dollar commercial projects with Tehran. READ MORE

International Community Weighs Response To Nuclear Iran

Experts agree that if Iran's claims about its ability to produce higher-grade enriched uranium are true, the country could have weapons-grade uranium within six months. What does this mean for the West? READ MORE

Ankara's Iran gambit

By Semih Idiz

Iran, it seems, is going to turn into one of the main litmus tests of exactly how influential Turkey has become in the region.Ankara is in an uncomfortable position in this respect. If it does not manage to bring Tehran around to a reasonable position on the uranium-enrichment issue, it runs the risk of being isolated among its allies. READ MORE

Poland threatens Belarus with EU action after crackdown

By Andrew Rettman

Poland has threatened to freeze progress in EU-Belarus relations and to lobby the IMF to cut off aid following a crackdown on ethnic Poles. READ MORE

Spanish FM: Spain's presidency in EU is opportunity to create solid foundation for cooperation with Azerbaijan

By E.Ostapenko

Miguel Angel Moratinos, Foreign Minister of Spain, presiding in the EU, spoke in an exclusive interview with Trend News European Desk. READ MORE

Yanukovych Faces Uphill Struggle for Control of Ukraine, Despite Victory in Presidential Election

As expected, opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych has won the February 7 presidential election runoff. Unlike in 2004, when Yanukovych lost a controversial poll to Viktor Yushchenko and his supporters were accused of large-scale election fraud, this time international observers said the election was free and fair. However, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has not recognized her defeat. If Yanukovych fails to form a new coalition in parliament on the spur of the moment in order to oust Tymoshenko from the government, Ukraine will face several months of uncertainty and probably early parliamentary polls. READ MORE

New Russian Military Doctrine Opposes NATO Enlargement

By Roger McDermott

After several delays, the long-awaited new Russian military doctrine was finally approved by President Dmitry Medvedev on February 5. The document did not include the rumored lowering of the nuclear threshold, despite recent public comments on the issue to the contrary made by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary respectively of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev and Yuri Baluyevskiy. READ MORE

Kazakhstan Offers to Hold Joint Military Exercises With Turkey

By Roman Muzalevsky

On January 20, the Turkish Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Atilla Gunay, met the Kazakh Defense Minister Adilbek Zhaksybekov in Astana as part of a series of recent meetings to foster bilateral dialogue. Centered on military cooperation, it came three months after Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Ankara to sign a strategic partnership agreement that emphasized closer military collaboration between the two countries. READ MORE

M or M (Modernization or Marginalization): Which Future for Russia?

By Dmitri Trenin

Russia’s present dilemma could be described as modernization or marginalization (“M or M”). This is more or less clear to Russia’s leaders. Putin evoked it in his “millennium article” in December 1999; Medvedev’s current speeches and articles echo some of the themes raised by Putin early in his presidency. One can also mention “Putin’s plan” (2007-8), also known as Strategy-2020, as a blueprint for modernization.  READ MORE

Actions Instead of Words

By Oliver Rolofs

High-ranking Chinese representative for the first time attending Munich Security Conference READ MORE

Interview: McFaul On U.S., Russian Stereotypes And His Controversial Co-Chair

The first meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Civil Society Working Group was held in Washington on January 27. The group is part of a larger effort begun last summer by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to reset relations between the two countries and explore new opportunities for partnership. The two co-chairs of the group are Michael McFaul, special assistant to Obama and senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council, and Vladislav Surkov, first deputy chairman of the Russian presidential administration. READ MORE

Nazarbayev: “Economy first, then politics”

Nursultan Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan as the oil-rich central Asian nation’s president since its independence in 1991. The world’s largest land-locked state is taking a heightened interest in the turbulent region’s problems since it has taken up the chairmanship of the intergovernmental Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Euronews spoke to President Nazarbayev in Almaty. READ MORE

Javier Solana Receives Ewald-von-Kleist Award of the Munich Security Conference for His Lifetime Achievements

For his outstanding leadership advancing the cause of peace Javier Solana, former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and Secretary General of NATO, will receive the Ewald-von-Kleist Award of the Munich Security Conference this coming Saturday, February 6th. The prize will be awarded for the second time this year. Last year’s laureate was the former US-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. READ MORE

Fated to Coexistence

By Christina Greszta

Polish-German relations are still full of a number of difficulties and mutual claims READ MORE

France and Germany seal bilateral deal with global ambitions

By Mark Hallam

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have unveiled a new 10-year plan, including 80 projects designed to improve Franco-German cooperation. The goal is also to better promote European ideas globally. READ MORE

Questions for the OSCE

By Arthur Dunn

2010 is very momentous for the OSCE: the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act as well as the 20th anniversary of the Charter of Paris, which has put an end to the ‘Сold War’, are to be marked. READ MORE

Where Does "Greater Romania" End?

By Andrean Katan

Moldova and Ukraine pose problems for each other on the way to Europe, but in fact the main task for both of them is to overcome the common Soviet past. READ MORE

The Russian Factor in Ukraine’s 2010 Presidential Elections

By Taras Kuzio

The Russian factor in this year’s Ukrainian presidential elections is essentially a straw man and far less important key than five years ago. Russian political technologists openly worked for one candidate (Viktor Yanukovych), while Moscow allegedly sought to poison the opposition candidate (Viktor Yushchenko) and President Vladimir Putin visited Kyiv on the eve of the first and second rounds to endorse Yanukovych. Putin congratulated Yanukovych on his “victory” two days after the second round –and one day before the central election commission had released the official results. READ MORE

Davos: New ways of global co-operation

By Klaus Schwab

The economic and financial crisis of the past year underscored the extent to which, after experiencing the ‘globalisation of opportunities’, we are now facing the ‘globalisation of problems.’ This shift reflects the transformation of a world which has become much more interconnected, interdependent and complex, characterized by many new state and non-state players. READ MORE

Europe Should Thank Turkey

By Levan Gelovani

Ankara tries to play a new role as an energy nod. READ MORE