March 2011

London agreement sends strong message, says NATO Secretary General

Today’s creation in London of an international Contact Group on Libya is a strong expression of international community support for the Libyan people’s wish for freedom, democracy and human rights, says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The group will give political guidance to the international community's actions in response to the Libyan crisis. READ MORE

Poland Determined to Produce Shale Gas

By Marcin Sobczyk

Polish PM Pledges Support for Shale Gas Exploration. READ MORE

German press review: The 'nuclear' elections

By Joanna Impey

German front pages have been painted green after state elections seen as a "spectacular" boost for the Greens, and a "debacle" for Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats. Many papers put the result down to nuclear power. READ MORE

Visa Regime for “South Stream”

By Tatjana Stanovskaya

The negotiations between the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan took place in Moscow, the most important result of which was the abolishment of visa regime. However the main subject covered energy relations: the Kremlin specified clearly, that it is ready to refuse of the “South Stream” piping, if Turkey won’t give the permission on it in favor of the condensed natural gas production plant. It’s hardly worth to take the kind of intentions seriously: Moscow has already used the kind of pressure tactics in order to force the partner-state to choose more flexible line. READ MORE

Tripoli and the Russian Rift

By Ariel Cohen

U.S. President Barack Obama’s “reset” with Russia is looking flimsy in the wake of vitriolic rhetoric from Moscow. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has had harsh words about U.S. military action against Libya. He and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov have gone so far as to repeat Muammar Qaddafi's canards about exorbitant civilian casualties and Western “crusades.” READ MORE

Successful partnership within international organizations – joint interest of Lithuania and Croatia

President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė met with President of Croatia Ivo Josipović, who arrived in Vilnius on a working visit. READ MORE

Chinese threat to the former son-in-law of Kazakh President

The situation on the eve of the snap Presidential elections in Kazakhstan to be held on April 3rd can’t be called trivial. Voters are being attracted with various curious statements. A disgraced ex-son-in-law of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev attempts to gain the most attention. Sometime influential Rakhat Shorazov-Aliyev undertook another informational attack from Vienna, where he hides from justice. Snap elections for him became a surprise, having broken the plans to ballot for the post of the Head of the state in 2012. He expressly tries to destabilize the situation around Kazakhstan and inside of it. After the announcement of the date of the snap Presidential elections, Rakhat Aliyev extraordinarily commented on the last state visit of Nazarbayev to China. READ MORE

Building Bridges Between Baltic and Central Asia states

By Arthur Dunn

The European Union has been engaged with the five countries in Central Asia from the very moment they gained their independence in the early 1990s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the globalization process has required a new partnership to be established between them, and Central Asia became one of the objectives of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. READ MORE

Kazakhstan plays active role in promotion of SCO development - Chinese expert Qu Xing

By Ruslan Suleimenov

As is known, in June 2011 Astana will host the jubilee Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Yang Jiechi, Chinese side gives special attention to this regional event and intends to contribute to this meeting and promote regional interaction. READ MORE

Eastern Partnership: Turn Point

By Marek Siwiec, Adam Balcer

Success of European policy of neighborhood depends on official recognition by the EU of the existence of fundamental differences between East and South. The most important of them is that Eastern partners (in distinction from South ones) possess European intentions and prospects. READ MORE

NATO to take charge of Libyan operations 'within days'

By Michael Knigge

After haggling for days over NATO's role in the air campaign, the alliance has finally decided that it will run the no-fly zone over Libya. Britain said it hopes that NATO will soon take over the entire operation. READ MORE

Pressure building on Obama to clarify mission in Libya

By Karen Tumulty

Of all the decisions that a president must make, none calls for more clarity than the one to go to war. Thus far, President Obama’s move to join other nations in intervening militarily in Libya appears to have generated confusion instead — both as to the scope of the mission and to its ultimate end. READ MORE

Political Responsibility in Disarmament Sphere

By Arthur Dunn

Representative of Asia Headed the Conference on Disarmament for the First Time READ MORE

Poland Rebuffs German Call on Nuclear Power

By Marcin Sobczyk

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk Wednesday rejected a German call on Poland to cancel the planned construction of nuclear power plants, saying the Polish public supports the project. READ MORE

Recognizing Palestine: Estonia’s Iceland Moment

By Oliver Loode

Estonia will mark the 20th anniversary of the restoration of its independence in August of this year. It will be a major milestone in a remarkable year – one that brought the European Capital of Culture to Tallinn and the euro to Estonia. It will also be an occasion for numerous speeches and newspaper articles on how our independence was won back, whether this is “the Estonia that we wanted,” and what it means for Estonia to be an independent country in a globalized world. READ MORE

Russian Energy Projects in the Black Sea Reach End of an Era

By Vladimir Socor

Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s, March 16-17 Russia visit capped a four-week period of spectacular changes to Russian energy transit projects, in the Black Sea and beyond. During these critical weeks, Russia abandoned the Trans-Balkan  oil pipeline project, which it had planned for more than a decade to form a transcontinental oil corridor, stretching from Kazakhstan to the Aegean Sea. The Kremlin also abandoned (in all but name) the South Stream gas pipeline project, designed to have stretched from the Black Sea into eight European countries. Moscow also had to register the stagnation of the Trans-Anatolian oil pipeline project, designed to connect Kazakhstan via Russia, the Black Sea, and Turkey with the Mediterranean. READ MORE

Nuclear Plants in Europe Are Delayed


BERLIN — With the crisis in Japan raising fears about nuclear power, Germany and Switzerland said on Monday that they would reassess the safety of their own reactors and possibly reduce their reliance on them. READ MORE

The Libyan War of 2011

By George Friedman

The Libyan war has now begun. It pits a coalition of European powers plus the United States, a handful of Arab states and rebels in Libya against the Libyan government. The long-term goal, unspoken but well understood, is regime change — displacing the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and replacing it with a new regime built around the rebels. READ MORE

Solutions for Russian-Ukrainian Gas Brinksmanship


Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are not new, but their resurgence bodes ill for European energy security. This latest dispute between Europe’s largest natural gas supplying state and its key gas transit state should be a warning flag to Europe that, despite efforts by the IMF and other countries, the underlying causes of the dispute that left Europe without gas for heating and electricity in 2009 remain unresolved and require European intervention. Below we describe the nature of the problem and propose an approach for addressing one of Europe’s most important energy security problems. READ MORE

Secretary general says NATO unprepared for Libya crisis

By Remi Adekoya

Alliance has "no plans to act," but is preparing for eventualities. READ MORE

Grybauskaite: Assistance of Sweden Is Highly Important for Lithuania

The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt during which she underlined that Sweden is one of the main economic partners of Lithuania and the second biggest foreign investor in the country. READ MORE

Steven Chu: Obama still committed to nuclear plants

By David A. Fahrenthold

President Obama still supports construction of new nuclear plants in the United States, despite the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. READ MORE

Moscow halts petrol to Bishkek over nationalization row

In what could be a new fight over export duties, Russia has stopped transporting petrol fuel to Kyrgyzstan as of Feb. 15, after the Kyrgyz government decided to nationalize one of its largest telecom companies. READ MORE

Sinan Ogan on visit of Recep Tayiip Erdogan in Moscow

By Eugene Krishtalyov

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan arrives in Moscow on March 15 on an official visit-This event is to become historic, because the visit will coincide with the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the renewed Russia and Turkey after WWI. The director of the Turkish Centre for International Relations and Strategic Analysis, Sinan Ogan, told the VK correspondent about the visit and its context. READ MORE

Alarm bells ring over Europe's nuclear expansion

As Japan's nuclear crisis deepens, fears are growing within Europe's wind industry about European Commission plans to put nuclear power on a par with renewable energies in the post-2020 low-carbon environment. READ MORE

U.S. Helping Build Caspian Navies

By Joshua Kucera

The U.S. is planning to help Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan develop their navies, emphasizing the increasing importance of Caspian Sea security and the possibility of the sea's militarization, with all five bordering countries (including Iran and Russia) planning to build up their strength in the oil- and gas-rich sea. READ MORE

Building a NATO-SCO dialogue

By Richard Weitz

Since late 2001, NATO has emerged as a major institutional player in Central Asian security affairs. This development resulted from the increased Alliance interest and involvement in Central Asia following the September 11 terrorist attacks and NATO's takeover of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2003. However, the Uzbek government's May 2005 crackdown in Andijan revealed the fragility of the Alliance's relations with the countries of the region. Consequently, NATO needs a new initiative to enhance its position in Central Asia. READ MORE

Japanese PM declares nuclear power emergency situation

By Anne Thomas

As Japan struggles to come to terms with the consequences of the worst earthquake, experts say that keeping the country's nuclear power plants under control is of utmost importance. READ MORE

Biden urges democratic reforms on visit to Moldova

By Corneliu Rusnac

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Moldova to fight corruption and implement pro-Western democratic reforms, saying Friday that Washington would offer support to Europe's poorest country as it seeks to move closer to the EU. READ MORE

Poland’s New Nuclear Ambitions

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski arrived in the United States on Monday for a six-day visit including meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday and with Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman and other officials. The visit is meant to promote the U.S.-Polish alliance and reaffirm Warsaw’s commitment to a close relationship with Washington after lukewarm visits from Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in December 2010 and Defense Minister Bogdan Klich in October 2010, during which Washington refused to give concrete military commitments to Poland. READ MORE

Who Attempts to Impede Pre-Term Presidential Elections in Kazakhstan?

Counselor of the President of Kazakhstan Yermukhamet Yertysbayev during a conversation with a reporter of the newspaper “Express K” placed all emphasizes within the subject of the oncoming pre-term elections.  READ MORE

China, Russia Lead UN Initiative to Stabilize Somalia, Fight Piracy Threat

By Bill Varner

China and Russia are leading a new effort at the United Nations to curb the threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia and defeat al-Qaeda-linked terrorists fighting to seize control of the Horn of Africa nation. READ MORE

Kazakh presidential candidates publish political platforms

Presidential candidates in Kazakhstan have published their political platforms in official press. READ MORE

After Cuts, Voters Back Ruling Bloc in Estonia

By Ellen Barry

Early results in Estonia’s parliamentary election on Sunday showed the ruling coalition headed for a victory, in a remarkable show of support for a government that has imposed harsh austerity measures to lift the country out of recession. READ MORE

Back to Europe

By Martin Stier

The main and dominating feature of modern policy of Central and South-East European states during last 20 years has been about the intention to “return to Europe”. Exactly with this return not only politicians but also most of population of region’s country related main hopes for better life and assurance of democratic foundations of society. READ MORE

Results of the local government elections in Lithuania as a test of the mood before parliamentary elections

By Joanna Hyndle

According to preliminary results, most votes in the local elections of 27th February were won by the opposition social democrats – 21.4%. The left for the past three years have been criticising the policy of governing the conservatives/Christian democrats and of the extremely unpopular prime minister and the party leader Andrius Kubilius.  Victory for the left, however, is not overwhelming. READ MORE

Estonian center-right coalition wins election

By Catherine Bolsover, David Levitz

Estonia's center-right government has claimed victory in Sunday's election after a record number of e-votes. The ruling coalition has won credit for ending a recession and overseeing a successful transition to the euro. READ MORE


Lithuania and Norway foster similar foreign policy objectives and aim to intensify bilateral political and economic relations. This was agreed on 8 March in Vilnius, by Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. READ MORE

NATO allies warn US on too much defense scrimping

By Spencer Kimball

While the Pentagon tightens its financial belt, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has hinted at reducing American troop levels in Europe. However, Washington must reconcile a smaller force with traditional NATO obligations. READ MORE

Trans-Caspian Pipeline Is Launched

By Viktoria Panfilova

Ashkhabad and Baku Start with Evaluation of Ecologic Risks. READ MORE

Clinton confirms plans for missile base in Poland

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed Washington's plans to deploy missile defenses and Air Force units in Poland. READ MORE

NATO Pipeline System

NATO has a pipeline system designed to ensure that its requirements for petroleum products and their distribution can be met at all times. READ MORE

Georgia and Russia’s WTO membership

It seems like the 18-year negotiations on Russia’s entry to the WTO are coming to an end. Moscow is also at the end of completing its membership; the only obstacle is Georgia’s position blocking the move. The Kremlin however thinks that it can overcome Georgia’s stubborn resistance and that the West will persuade Georgia to allow Moscow to be admitted. READ MORE

Europe's southern gas corridor: The great pipeline race

Several pipeline projects are competing with one another to bring to life the southern gas corridor – a vague blueprint to supply Europe with gas from the Caspian and the Middle East. EurActiv takes a look at the various European initiatives, including their common competitor: Russia's South Stream project. READ MORE

Turkish-Azerbaijani relations: reality check

By Eladar Mamedov

At the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, in Astana in December 2010 the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan were at pains to downplay the damage that WikiLeaks could cause to the historically close relations between their countries. READ MORE

Elmar Mammadyarov: Always possible to reach peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh

The Russian side has proposed to hold the next meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, where the negotiations would continue, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told reporters on Saturday. READ MORE

Seven Guidelines for U.S. Central Asia Policy

By Evan A. Feigenbaum

As noted in my last post, a new report from the bipartisan Central Asia Study Group, chaired by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and issued by the Project 2049 Institute, offers an action agenda aimed at creating a more effective and enduring partnership between the United States and the nations of Central Asia. I was the principal author of the report. But the paper is a consensus document that reflects discussion, debate, and, ultimately, broad agreement among a distinguished group of former senior U.S. diplomatic and defense officials with responsibility for, or interest in, Central Asia. READ MORE