July 2010

Progress in Russian-Bulgarian gas negotiations

Russia and Bulgaria have established a framework of agreements regarding the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline and new gas contracts. But the negotiation process is still far from over, write Ewa Paszyc and Tomasz Dąborowski for Polish think-tank the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in a July commentary. READ MORE

Germany’s Westerwelle says Turkey’s direction is Europe

Germany reiterated its position on Wednesday that it wants Turkey to be bound to Europe but added that it is not yet ready for EU membership. “Turkey's direction is Europe. We place great importance on deepening mutual ties and binding Turkey to Europe,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a joint news conference after breakfast with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in İstanbul. READ MORE

OSCE Votes To Deploy International Advisory Police In Southern Kyrgyzstan

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has agreed to "deploy without delay" a police advisory group to southern Kyrgyzstan. READ MORE

The US Expands Military Ties with Tajikistan

By Roman Muzalevsky

The US Ambassador to Tajikistan, Ken Gross, announced on June 25 that the US plans to open a military training center in Tajikistan pending the signing of related agreements with the Tajik side. The proposed center, to be located 45 kilometers (km) from the capital, Dushanbe, would provide Tajik armed forces with counternarcotics and antiterrorist training. Gross emphasized that the center, with a price tag of $10 million, did not seek to establish a US military presence in Tajikistan. READ MORE

Poland keeps Eastern policy running

By Andrew Slov

Sikorski  tour to Caucasus

Moscow Using New Customs Union to Extend Influence in Central Asia

By David Trilling

Having already been pummeled by rising fuel prices and political instability in recent months, the creation of a Customs Union among Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia threatens to deal yet another economic blow to Kyrgyzstan, and is exerting pressure on Bishkek to decide whether to cast its lot with Moscow or the West. READ MORE

New Iran Sanctions

The EU also approved a new list of sanctions against Iran. READ MORE

Will New Diplomatic Service Help EU To Speak With One Voice?

By Ahto Lobjakas

The European Union is just months away from launching a new unified diplomatic service. But any hopes that the new structure will bring greater focus and effectiveness to the bloc's foreign policy are probably premature, analysts say. READ MORE

In Brussels, Eu Foreign Ministers Discussed Situation In The Western Balkans And Central Asia

Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis attended the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting, during which issues of Sudan and Iran, the Middle East peace process, the situation in the Western Balkans and Central Asia, and relations with the EU's strategic partners - India and Brazil – were discussed. READ MORE

View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan

By C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal. READ MORE

Top 10 Events Shaping Russia’s Foreign Policy

By Fyodor Lukyanov

The political season from fall 2009 to summer 2010 was rich in landmark events. I have listed my top 10 events that shaped Russia’s foreign policy during that time and will have a strong impact on further developments. READ MORE

Actual Tolerance

By Arthur Dunn

On June 29-30, Astana hosted the High-Level OSCE Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination, aimed to help in coping with obligations and promoting the OSCE values related to tolerance, non-discrimination and intercultural dialogue – the key priorities of Kazakhstan's chairmanship in 2010. Over 600 politicians and public figures from dozens of countries have discussed the value of legislative processes, law enforcement bodies, national education systems and mass media in combating public manifestations of intolerance and promoting the idea of mutual understanding through dialogue. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan: Positive Developments in the Hydro-Energy Sector

By: Erica Marat

Amid the ongoing instability in southern Kyrgyzstan, and the possibility of renewed violence as the October 10 parliamentary elections approach, the country’s hydro-energy sector shows signs of gradual recovery. The interim government might be able to supply electricity throughout the upcoming cold season and avoid sharp increases in tariffs. Although electricity tariffs will need to be raised eventually, in order to sustain the sector and invest in new hydro-energy projects, the increases could be gradual. READ MORE

Iran favours talks with EU after Ramadan -Turkey

By Simon Cameron-Moore

Iran has expressed willingness to have talks with the European Union on its nuclear programme after the month of Ramadan ends in early September, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday. READ MORE

James Ker-Lindsay: Legal or not, this has not solved issue of recognition

While they will be celebrating in Pristina, and there is no doubt that in a broad sense this is a victory for Kosovo, yesterday's ruling opinion is far more complex. READ MORE

US backs Kosovan independence regardless of UN ruling

UN court set to rule on legality of Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia

The US has pledged to back Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence regardless of a UN court verdict on its legality due today. READ MORE

Kazakhstan ready to join Nabucco gas project, seeks more from EU

Kazakhstan's president said his country is ready to be a part of the Nabucco gas pipeline, but the European Union must do more to make its participation in the project possible. READ MORE

Kyrgyz deal a Silk Road turning point

By M K Bhadrakumar

Central Asia arrived at a turning point last weekend far removed from the history of Genghis Khan riding out to conquer the world, as it sought peacekeepers from Europe. Russia, which has provided security to the region for the past century and more is stepping aside - unable or unwilling, and possibly incapable of performing that role anymore. READ MORE

US-Russian Relations: Wooing the West

By Eric Walberg

The Russian leader has re-enacted the famous American goodwill tour of his predecessor a half century ago, but faces the same Cold War scheming. Will his attempts to befriend Europe have more success? READ MORE

Trade a key issue in Merkel's visit to Kazakhstan

By Catherine Bolsover

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with President Nursultan Nasarbeyev of Kazakhstan to discuss trade and investment. The visit draws her five-day tour of Asia to a close. READ MORE

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Calls On Osce Members To Take Security Dialogue Forward

On 16-17 July at the informal ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Almaty, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis encouraged OSCE members to take dialogue on European and Eurasian security forward. READ MORE

OSCE Minsk Group issues statement on Karabakh dispute

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group released a statement on Saturday encouraging the peaceful settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, the OSCE website said. READ MORE

Russia Plans Far Eastern Energy Drive

By Sergei Blagov

Russian officials have reiterated pledges to pursue pro-active Far Eastern energy policies, backed by sizable investments. Moscow would invest up to $100 billion to develop new natural gas deposits in the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Sechin, announced. Many of these new deposits are located in Eastern Siberia and Russia’s Far East. READ MORE

Karzai Reaffirms 2014 Goal For Afghan-Led Security

President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment for Afghan police and soldiers to take charge of security nationwide by 2014 and urged his international backers to distribute more of their development aid through the government. READ MORE

OSCE Chairperson announces agreement on summit, calls Kyrgyzstan crisis a 'vitality test' for Organization

OSCE Foreign Ministers meeting in Almaty reached consensus on holding a summit in Astana this year and reinforcing OSCE assistance to Kyrgyzstan, said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev. READ MORE

OSCE dithers on sending police mission to Kyrgyzstan

By Mark Hallam, David Levitz

The OSCE failed to agree on sending an international police force to Kyrgyzstan in the wake of June's ethnic clashes between that may have killed 2,000 people. A decision on the matter is expected next week. READ MORE

Ashton Seeks to Revive EU Role in Iran Nuclear Talks

By Johan Bergenäs

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, are currently involved in a diplomatic dance over resuming talks on Tehran's nuclear program. If the talks do indeed come to fruition, Ashton could assume the negotiating role previously played by her predecessor, Javier Solana. While Solana's diplomatic efforts ultimately did not bear fruit (.pdf), the circumstances that hampered his attempts to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff -- namely, the lack of U.S. participation and Iranian perceptions that the country had little to gain by talking with Europe -- have since improved and could be capitalized on by Ashton. READ MORE

Ukraine between the European and Customs Unions: What Will Be the Choice?

By Oleg Gorbunov

The enhanced Eastern vector of Ukrainian policy yet more likely misleads, rather then gives a direct reply – where does Ukraine go? READ MORE

Armenian, Polish Foreign Ministers satisfied with the dynamics of development of partnership

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan met  with his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski who is paying an official visit to Armenia upon the invitation of E. Nalbandyan. The meeting launched in face-to-face format and continued with the participation of delegations, MFA reported. READ MORE

From a proactive to a reactive foreign policy

By Semih İdiz

Turkey’s increasingly messy entanglement with Israel is forcing Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to change tack on his overall foreign policy vision vis-à-vis the Middle East. He continues to garner much respect and support on Arab streets and among radical groups or countries in the region with his increasingly angry remarks toward Israel. READ MORE

Are Tbilisi and Baku good friends?

Relations between republics of South Caucasus play an important geopolitical role for Russia given that this near-border region is ethnically close to citizens of Russia's south and is highly integrated into Russia's economy. On one hand, establishment of new states in the territory of Soviet republics drastically changed relations between them making it possible for the West to set up a base to put pressure on Russia's south. We considered Georgian-Turkish relations and it is much more important how Georgia and Azerbaijan, two close neighbors, communicate. READ MORE

Yanukovych meeting European Council President

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych conducted a meeting with the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, presidential press office informed. READ MORE

The Global and regional actors in the South Caucasus

By Dr. Stepan Grigoryan

The Armenian elite’s way of thinking and Armenia’s foreign policy have been influenced by the history of the Armenian people, particularly the tragic events of 1915, when near 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated in the Ottoman Empire and a million people were spread all over the world, forming the Diaspora. READ MORE

"Reset" Won't Fix It!

By David J. Smith

Last April 7, the world was too busy to notice Russian fingerprints on the coup that toppled Kyrgyzstani President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Within weeks, ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks were at each other’s throats. Moscow, it seems, is good at breaking things, but not at fixing them. READ MORE

Azerbaijan will continue introducing democratic values

How does Kazakhstan’s chairmanship differ from the previous ones? READ MORE

Armenia must sign Madrid principles

Armenia should officially agree to the statement made by the Presidents of the co-chair countries in Canada on June 26, the political scientist Stepan Grigoryan told reporters on July 8. READ MORE

Azerbaijan Accepts Suggestions of the OSCE Minsk Group with Definite Exceptions

On July 6th Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated that with definite exceptions the country accepts the suggestion of the cochairmen-states of the OSCE Minsk Group, developed on the basis of Helsinki principles. READ MORE

Expert: U.S., Russian and French president's statement on Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani diplomacy's great success

Trend conducted interview with the Moscow State University History Faculty Deputy Dean, Internet portal "The Bulletin of the Caucasus" Chief Editor and Trend Expert Council Member o Alexei Vlasov, especially for the Yeni Azerbaycan newspaper. READ MORE

Clinton Seeks to Reassure Russia’s Neighbors

By Ellen Barry

At the end of a trip intended to reassure Russia’s neighbors that the Obama administration would not forget them in its push to improve relations with Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton resorted to the simplest of diplomatic formulations, telling Georgia, the United States “can walk and chew gum at the same time.” Mrs. Clinton repeated the argument like a mantra during her five-day swing through Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia: that the “reset” will not force the United States to sacrifice its influence or policies in the post-Soviet space. READ MORE

Initial Outcomes Of President Yanukovych’s Foreign Policy:Results Of Expert Poll By The Institute Of World Policy

Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the Institute of World Politicy, and Sergiy Solodkyy, deputy director of IWP has held a public presentation of expert poll about the first outcomes of president Viktor Yanukovych’s foreign policy. Among the participants: Zbigniew Brzezinski (USA), James Sherr (UK), Steven Pifer (USA), Philippe Moreau Defages (France), and Marcin Wojciechowski (Poland), etc. Nearly 30 professionals were involved for the study. READ MORE

What is the Interest of Kiev in Transnistria Regulation?

The subject of Transnistria regulation seems to return into the list of priorities of native Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Despite the scepsis of last months, related to indefiniteness around the candidate and the level of authorities of a future special representative to Ukraine on the issues of Transnistria regulation, and also the attempt of Russia and Germany to establish new grounds to discuss frozen conflicts (the role of Ukraine, choosing words carefully, is not clear), Kiev finally decided again to turn to the subject of Transnistria regulation. READ MORE

Kazakh, Russian Presidents met in Astana

Upon completion of the session of the EurAsEC Interstate Council in Akorda Palace Head of the State Nursultan Nazarbayev has had a meeting with President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. READ MORE

Komorowski wins Polish presidential election

By Sonia Phalnikar and Bartosz Dudek

Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Poland's ruling pro-business Civic Platform party, has become the country's next president. Komorowski beat Jaroslaw Kaczynski by a margin of seven percent of the vote. READ MORE

Clinton Pledges U.S. Support For Georgia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a robust show of support for Georgia today by vowing to uphold its "territorial integrity" and voicing opposition to its inclusion in a Russian "sphere of influence." READ MORE

Commonness of Historic Destinies of Armenia and Poland Creates a Favorable Background for Close Cooperation Between the Two States

By Ashot Safaryan

The interview of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Poland to Armenia Zdzisław Raczyński. READ MORE

OSCE High-Level Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Conference calls for sharing best practices, renewed focus on rights

ASTANA - Sharing positive experiences and best practices in promoting tolerance and non-discrimination to effectively face threats to stability in the OSCE area is the focus of the High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination that started in Astana today. READ MORE

US, Poland sign missile shield amendment in Clinton visit

The United States and Poland signed an amendment to a US missile shield deal during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a high-level meeting Saturday in Krakow focusing on promoting democracy, dpa reported. READ MORE

Modova’s PM looks to the future

Vlad Filat, who leads Moldova’s pro-Western government, recently visited Luxembourg where euronews asked him about planned early elections, about solutions for Transnistria and integration with Europe, which he says is “an absolute priority” for his government. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan's interim leader sworn in as president

By Gabriel Borrud

Kyrgyzstan's provisional leader Roza Otunbayeva has been sworn in as president, ushering in what the Central Asian nation's government hopes will be a new era of stability and democratic freedoms. READ MORE

The Azeri Turkish gas agreement - a new challenge for the EU

By Inessa Baban

After a long process of negotiations, Azerbaijan signed three new agreements on 7 June, 2010 with Turkey for the sale and transportation of its natural gas to European countries via Turkish territory. The conclusion of these agreements has welcome in Brussels which sent its representative to the 17th Caspian Oil and Gas Conference held recently in Baku (2-3 June) to secure so that there can be no failure of its signature according to one EU representative in Azerbaijan. READ MORE

Belgian EU presidency would support enlargement

Belgium will support the enlargement of the European Union to include Croatia, Iceland and Turkey during its forthcoming presidency of the bloc. READ MORE

Poland's Kaczynski stirs pride, anxiety before poll

Poland, Kaczynski, Komorowski

His core conservative supporters see Jaroslaw Kaczynski as an honest patriot who will champion Poland's national interests in the European Union and beyond if he wins Sunday's presidential election run-off. READ MORE

Matthew Bryza Named New US Ambassador to Azerbaijan

By Shahin Abbasov

The White House has appointed US diplomat Matthew Bryza, a former American co-chair for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution talks, as its new ambassador to Azerbaijan, EurasiaNet.org has learned. READ MORE

German presidential election goes into third and final round of voting

By Peter Stuetzle and Marc Koch

The second vote for Germany's next president has again been indecisive. The coalition government's candidate has twice failed to secure an absolute majority. In the third round, a simple majority will suffice. READ MORE

Why Russia's Medvedev is blasting ally Kyrgyzstan

By Fred Weir

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev unexpectedly criticized a government reform vote in Kyrgyzstan that passed Sunday with 91 percent support. READ MORE