March 2010

The UN Accepts CSTO as a Regional Security Organization

By Vladimir Socor

On March 18, in Moscow, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) Secretary-General, Nikolay Bordyuzha, signed a declaration on cooperation between the two secretariats. The document, and the UN’s steps preceding it, can be interpreted as UN recognition of this Russian-led bloc in the “post-Soviet space.” The Russian side will doubtlessly construe the UN’s blessing as a full and unambiguous recognition of the CSTO (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). READ MORE

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Visits Georgia

By Liana Bezhanishvili

On March 27 new Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis began a three-day official visit to Tbilisi. On Saturday he met Georgian Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze and discussed the further intensification of the relations between the two countries in various international formats and the participation of Lithuanian observers at the forthcoming Georgian local elections. READ MORE

Collective Defense in Central Asia Contradicted by Rising National Spending

By Roger McDermott

Despite the impact of the global economic crisis on all of the economies within the former Soviet Union, averaging a 7 percent decline in GDP in 2009, defense spending has increased in each state with the exception of Belarus (which remained unchanged in 2009 year-on-year at 1.5 percent of GDP). Defense spending, according to an extensive analysis in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, witnessed the sharpest increase in Georgia (4.56 percent of GDP), Armenia (4.07 percent) and Azerbaijan (3.95 percent). In the case of Armenia, this level of defense expenditure proved surprising in the context of its 15 percent decline in GDP in 2009. READ MORE

We do our best to exploit huge cooperation potential between Kazakhstan and Austria fully - Ambassador Kazykhanov

Austria is known to each Kazakhstani not only as the OSCE headquarters location and one of the most beautiful European landscapes, but first of all as the state rich in cultural traditions and historical heritage, the motherland of prominent rulers, scientists, philosophers and composers. Modern Austria is one of the most developed European states possessing significant international reputation, powerful production, scientific-technological, innovative and investment capacities. READ MORE

EU leaders delay deal on '2020' targets

The European Commission's new strategy for growth and jobs is on the ropes after EU leaders failed to agree hard targets on education and poverty – two of the five headline goals set out in the original proposal. READ MORE

Check Against Delivery

Address by HE Temuri Yakobashvili
Vice Prime-Minister and the State Minister for Reintegration of Georgia
at the 799th Meeting of the Special Permanent Council
March 19, 2010
State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement Through Cooperation READ MORE

Speech By NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

at NATO's New Strategic Concept - Global, Transatlantic and Regional Challenges and Tasks Ahead - Warsaw, Poland READ MORE

Slovenian Court Rules In Favor Of Border Dispute Talks With Croatia

A court ruling in Slovenia has allowed arbitration with Croatia on a border dispute dating back to the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991. The decision brings Croatia one step closer to its goal of EU membership. READ MORE

Ukraine's Election Clouds EU's Energy Future

By Andrea Bonzanni

There is little doubt that as president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych will decisively shift the country's geopolitical posture, with Kiev once again moving closer to Moscow after its pro-Western and pro-EU turn of 2005. The potential consequences on the EU's energy future are serious, as 80 percent of Russian natural gas exports to Europe transit through Ukrainian territory. The country has been in repeated price disputes with the Russian state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, resulting in interruptions of deliveries to the Ukrainian market in January 2006 and 2009, with supplies to Europe affected both times. READ MORE

Swedish Energy Firm Vattenfall Sells German Power Grid

Vattenfall has sold its German power grid to Belgian and Australian firms. The move appears to be part of a continuing trend of energy groups shedding highly-regulated power grids in favor of more profitable markets. READ MORE

The Problems Of Yanukovych And Prospects For Ukraine

By Vasil Shparluk

The rise of Yanukovych to power will become another challenge for Ukrainian democracy. It's obvious, he won't promote it, as democratic values are strange for him by nature and during his activity within opposition, he has hardly changed his views on policy and democracy. History is full of examples, when democrats became autocrats and there are only few of them, when it happened vice versa. Right after the elections Yanukovych allowed himself to say that he would rule the country for the following 10 years. READ MORE

Will Kazakhstan Get Trust Back In Europe?

It’s been two months since Kazakhstan become the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This is a mission of honor, but also a responsible one. Stagnation within the regulation of conflicts in South Caucasus, unmastered wave of tension between Russia and West, continuous arguments on democratic ideals and the status of Kosovo, and the current economic crisis. This is an incomplete list of problems, with which OSCE entered 2010 – the year of Chairmanship of Kazakhstan in the Organization. READ MORE

In Estonia, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Discussed Ways To Strengthen Regional Cooperation

During his working visit to Estonia on 19 March, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis met with Estonia’s Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Members of Parliament and Lithuanian businessmen working in Estonia. READ MORE

Is Lithuania‘s Eastern Policy Effective?

By Dr. Arūnas Molis

The recently criticized Lithuania‘s diplomacy could remind that in principle it was its initiative to join the EU efforts in order to stop increasing the number of states not respecting the territorial integrity of Georgia, to start the dialogue between the EU and Belarus, to enhance the political development of the Eastern Partnership and to accelerate the financial and political assistance to Moldova. However, in the six Eastern EU neighbors the political and economic situation is nearly the worst from the time of declaring their independence. READ MORE

Abkhazia: End Of Virtual Independence

Everyone already knew that Abkhazia's 'independence' is a farce. But on 17 February the slightest remaining illusions about this so-called independence vanished. On that day the de facto Abkhaz President was received by the Russian leadership as head of a ‘sovereign’ state and then signed an agreement with Russia which gave up even the farcical claim to independence the breakaway region previously had. READ MORE

OSCE Summit in Exchange for Water

By Sergey Rasov

Nursultan Nazarbayev has recently paid a visit to Tashkent. Last time in April of 2008 the similar bilateral meeting resulted in a scandal, when Islam Karimov without hesitations harshly reacted on the initiative of Nazarbayev to create the CAU: “the initiative to establish the Central Asia Union is not acceptable for Uzbekistan. I want to declare it once and for all, for there will be no speculations on this subject.” This time everything was different... READ MORE

Delays In Turkish-Azeri Gas Deal Raises Uncertainty Over Nabucco

By Saban Kardas

Turkey and Azerbaijan have proven unable to conclude their negotiations on natural gas cooperation, which have been in progress for over one year. Turkish-Azeri gas talks include several issues involving the revision of the price Turkey pays for its imports from Shah Deniz-I, the determination of the volume and price for its imports from Shah Deniz-II, and agreement on the volume and conditions for the transit of Azeri exports to Europe through Turkish territory. READ MORE

Why U.S. - EU Economic Co-Operation Holds The Key To Global Governance

By Robert Hutchings

The globalised economy and the rise of new economic giants demand a radically reformed international system, says Robert Hutchings. But it will nevertheless fall to Europe and America to fashion these new structures for global governanceDespite the many calls for a “new Atlanticism” or a “new transatlantic bargain,” the U.S.-European relationship is still imprisoned by old habits and ways of doing business. Yet, it is an inescapable reality that almost all the new challenges lie outside the traditional NATO relationship, and many of them are in areas where U.S. and European views have long diverged. READ MORE

Baku-Yerevan: Competition For West

By Sergey Markedonov

“Asia is not dead… Only its boarders have changed for good. Now Baku lies within Europe and this is not a coincidence. As there are no Asians in Baku anymore.” The kind of evaluation to the geopolitical situation established in the first quarter of the previous century was given by one of the main characters of a cultic novel “Ali and Nino” of Safar-han Shirvanshir. Another character of “Ali and Nino” was an officer of Russian imperial army, and later a creator of a new national army of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (1918-1920) Ilyas-bek made a conclusion that only the “reforms of European type” will secure the country of external danger. READ MORE

Russia and Croatia Resurrect Druzhba-Adria Oil Transport Scheme

By Vladimir Socor

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia and Jadranka Kosor of Croatia discussed the oil transportation scheme known as Druzhba-Adria integration during Kosor’s recent visit to Moscow. The trip marked Croatia’s accession to Gazprom’s South Stream project and opened the way for Russian energy companies’ expansion to the Adriatic coast. READ MORE

Holbrooke’s Visit Highlights US-Uzbek Regional Dilemmas and Opportunities

By Roman Muzalevsky

Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, visited Uzbekistan on February 19 as part of a series of meetings across the Central Asian capitals to boost regional support for the military campaign in Afghanistan, as well as cultivating closer collaboration with Uzbekistan. Uzbek President, Islam Karimov, and Holbrooke discussed a range of issues, emphasizing the importance of bilateral efforts aimed at bringing stability to Afghanistan. READ MORE

US House Vote Adds New Twist to Turkey-Armenia Diplomacy

By Emil Danielyan

A key committee in the United States House of Representatives has once again approved a draft resolution recognizing the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The dramatic development, condemned by Ankara and welcomed in Yerevan is widely seen in Armenia as heralding a last-ditched attempt by Washington to salvage the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed in October under American mediation. READ MORE

Chingiz Veliyev: Empty Pockets Push Romania to Fantastic Projects and a Fight with Kiev

The interview for Information Agency REGNUM Novosti with an independent Azerbaijani expert in fuel-energy sphere Chingiz Valiyev. READ MORE

US Assists Kyrgyzstan in Constructing Anti-Terrorist Center in Batken

By Erica Marat, Den Isa

During his visit to Bishkek on March 10, the Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), General David Petraeus, reiterated that by helping to build an anti-terrorist center in Batken city, Washington does not seek to open an additional military base. The Kyrgyz President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, in turn, argued that most security challenges to Kyrgyzstan stem from Afghanistan and that his regime needs to be better prepared to resist terrorism (Times of Central Asia, March 10). The US government will invest $5.5 to build the center and construction work will begin next year. READ MORE

Positive Tendencies

Under a wise guidance of President Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan enjoys leading positions in Central Asia to date. Ertan Tezgor, Personal Envoy of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office for Cooperation with Asian Partners said speaking on the country's role in the region and the Kazakh President's contribution to enhancement of its positions on the international arena. READ MORE

Nabucco And Baku–Ashkhabad’s Contraposition

By Ainis Razma

Today the gas pipeline Nabucco is probably the most important Western energy project in Eurasia. If implemented, it would significantly reduce energy dependence of the EU on Russia. Therefore Nabucco acquires a wide geopolitical dimension exceeding its possible economic benefit. READ MORE

Belarus Got Into Energy Trap

The issue of oil customs duties has been left outside the framework of the Customs Union, and Belarusian authorities have finally surrendered to Moscow. READ MORE

In Córdoba, EU Foreign Ministers Discussed The Functioning Of The European External Action Service

At an informal meeting of European Union’s foreign ministers on 5-6 March in Córdoba (Spain), Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and his counterparts discussed the shaping of the new European External Action Service, the EU’s relations with large emerging economies, as well as the situation in the Middle East. READ MORE

Kazakhstan: Astana Finding That Running The OSCE Is A Constant Challenge

The responsibility of running the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe may be having a moderating effect on Kazakhstan, Vladimir Shkolnikov, an expert on the workings of the Vienna-based multilateral organization tells EurasiaNet. For one, officials in Astana are finding that it is not so easy to impose their own political preferences on a group that comprises 56 member states, and which requires consensus to get anything done. READ MORE

Wrong Time for Armenian Genocide Bill

By Matt Stone

Demonstrating a predictable lack of strategic foresight, the U.S. Congress plans to renew its obsession with the Armenian genocide tomorrow, when the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold its mark-up session for the Armenian Genocide resolution. In 2007, the resolution -- which "[calls] upon the president to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning . . . the Armenian Genocide" -- passed out of committee but never reached a vote on the House floor, following a strong pushback effort from the Bush administration. The supporters of this year's iteration hope the Obama White House will prove less resistant to its foreign policy being held hostage to Congress's parochial interests. READ MORE

Industry Warns Of Missing Links For Cross-Border Gas

Amid growing demand for natural gas, politicians are being urged to improve networks as a regional approach to cross-border connections is still "sadly missing," industry representatives told a Brussels conference. READ MORE

Yanukovych’s Election Opens Up Crimean Separatist Threat

By Taras Kuzio

Newly-elected President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych is inaugurated in Kiev. READ MORE

Yanukovych visits Moscow, pledges better relations

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has visited Moscow for his second foreign visit since being sworn in. Long considered a pro-Kremlin politician, he said he wanted to open "a new page" in relations with Moscow. READ MORE

Now Burjanadze is talking to Moscow

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze

Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, left on a visit to Moscow on March 3. She is the second opposition politician to visit Moscow, following in the footsteps of leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli, and the visit has already caused controversy. READ MORE

The Mirror of The Real Continental Cooperation

By Arthur Dunn

About the suggestions of the USA and Russia on the problems of conflict prevention and regulation within OSCE area. READ MORE

First Foreign Trip Takes Ukraine's New President To Brussels

By Dagmar Breitenbach

European integration is high on the agenda of Ukraine's foreign policy, the country's new president said in Brussels. Yanukovych surprised observers by picking Brussels and not Moscow for his first international trip. READ MORE

Secretary General: GUAM National Coordinators Will Meet In Tbilisi

The National Coordinators' Council (NCC) may be held in Tbilisi March 12-14, Organization for Democracy and Economic Development-GUAM Secretary General Valeri Chechelashvili said. READ MORE

Plan For Germany To Buy Greek Bonds Dismissed As 'Nonsense'

A German MEP says Germany, France and the Netherlands will buy Greek bonds to help Athens deal with its debt. A senior German official has dismissed the claims. READ MORE

Vyshegrad Group - new dimention?

By Gabor Stier

At the beginning of March a joint meeting of ministers for foreign affairs of the countries from the Vyshegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) and member states of the European Union program ‘Eastern Partnership’ (Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) is to be held in Budapest. Participation of their colleagues from the EU presiding ‘troika’ – Spain, Great Britain and Hungary – is also expected. READ MORE

Lithuania And Latvia Agreed To Continue Strengthening The Cooperation With Nordic Countries

During a working visit to Latvia on 23-24 February, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis met with President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, Speaker of the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia Gundars Daudze and Latvia’s Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins. Bilateral relations, Eastern Neighbourhood policy, security, energy, transport and other issues were discussed during the meetings. READ MORE

1bn Nord Stream Pipe Contract Awarded

Three companies have been contracted to supply a million tons of steel pipes for the construction of the second pipeline of the Nord Stream project, the consortium has announced, confirming that work would begin in April this year. READ MORE