July 2011

Erdoğan urges Sarksyan to apologize for occupation remarks

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said in Baku that Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan should apologize for calling on school children to occupy eastern Turkey. READ MORE

Kazakhstan, Germany reached high level of mutual understanding and share similar positions on current int’l issues - Y. Kazykhanov


Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov has visited Belgium, Great Britain and Germany on July 18-20. READ MORE

“Reset” Regret: Russian “Sphere of Privileged Interests” in Eurasia Undermines U.S. Foreign Policy

By Ariel Cohen

For many years, Russian diplomats have openly proclaimed that the former Soviet republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are not truly sovereign states. Russian analysts have stated that Russia regards the Obama Administration’s “reset” policy as a U.S. admission that the CIS is within Russia’s sphere of influence. The reset policy has hitherto conspicuously failed to address important U.S. interests in Eurasia, including preventing the emergence of a hegemonic power in Eurasia, maintaining a level playing field in access to markets and natural resources, and developing democracy and free markets based on the rule of law. Since the “reset,” President Obama has downgraded his meetings with post-Soviet heads of state, signaling a lesser U.S. involvement and interest. Some senior U.S. officials have even told their subordinates not to bother them with the problems of the Caucasus. READ MORE

Dispatch: Energy Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union


Analyst Eugene Chausovsky examines the current politics of energy infrastructure from the Caucasus region to central Europe as the European Union seeks alternatives to Russia. READ MORE

Russia eyes closer links with US and China as relations with EU cool


Despite continuing dependence on trade ties with the EU, Russia is seeking closer links with US and China and makes joining WTO a priority READ MORE

The Economist: Lithuania and Latvia eager to follow Estonian example

By Danuta Pavilenene

Plunging unemployment, rocketing growth, soaring exports and a budget surplus: that is the story of Estonia as it bounces back from a precipitous economic collapse. This burst of good news shows not only the virtues of flexibility and austerity (a sensitive subject, as other euro countries taste the same medicine); it also gives heart to Latvia and Lithuania, the British weekly The Economist writes. READ MORE

West Balkans: On the Way to Euro-Atlantic Integration

In course of almost two decades NATO has assured security in West Balkans. During this period interaction of the region with NATO has been drifted from peacemaking and crisis regulation to Euro-Atlantic integration. READ MORE

OSCE Centre Helps Promote Integrated Water Resource Management In Kazakhstan

The meeting was initiated jointly by the Centre and the UNDP Office as part of a multi-year project aimed at introducing IWRM principles in Kazakhstan's legal and institutional framework. The event was also supported by the European Union, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Government of Finland, the press service of the OSCE Centre in Astana reports. READ MORE

Russia and Georgia, At It Again

I am in Tbilisi to talk about what is (or at least should be) of deep concern to Georgians: the country’s long-term domestic evolution, economic problems and political transition. But a lot of Georgians, especially in the government, want the conversation to get back to the enemy just outside—Russia. Is this because the Georgians are paranoid and want to use the Russian bear to distract attention from their own problems? Or because the Russians are actually out to get them? Or perhaps a bit of both? READ MORE

What the Norway Attack Could Mean for Europe

At least 17 people have died and more have been injured in an explosion in downtown Oslo and a shooting at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. Norwegian police arrested the shooter at the camp and believe he is connected with the explosion, though others could be involved. READ MORE

Caspian Divide into Five is -?

By Alexander Yuzhnyj

Legal status of Caspian Sea is one of the most important issues for the states, located along the shores of the biggest lake in the world. READ MORE

Too Special A Friendship: Is Germany Questioning Russia's Embrace?

By Gregory Feifer

Temperatures were approaching freezing in November 2010 when a stern Vladimir Putin delivered a trademark tirade at a business forum in Berlin's venerably posh Hotel Adlon, steps from the Brandenburg Gate. READ MORE

Lithuania’s leadership in the region: opportunities of small EU Member States

By Benas Brunalas

To have a clear goal or a vision is important not only for humans but also for a state. Well-defined goals are the most effective tools facilitating the achievement of the desired results; therefore, the states should have a clear future vision.   More than five years have passed since Lithuania has set a controversial vision - the ambition to become a regional political leader.  Were  the ambitions defined by the Lithuanian foreign policy-makers realized in reality? READ MORE

Is WTO ready for Russian bear?


Russia is the only major trading nation that has not yet joined the World Trade Organization — even after years of negotiations with the United States and other member states. This could finally change, however, if the Obama administration can resolve long-troublesome concerns. READ MORE

Croatia as EU's 28th member: Better late than never!

By Augustin Palokaj

Croatia's membership of the European Union was delayed and the country was forced to be particularly tough on corruption because many in the EU believed Bulgaria and Romania's accession in 2007 was premature, argues Croatian journalist Augustin Palokaj. He provides an overview of the past, present and future of Croatia's EU journey. READ MORE


At the European Union’s General Affairs Council meeting in the evening of 18 July in Brussels, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis drew the attention of other EU foreign ministers to the actions of the Austrian authorities, as they hastily released former KGB officer Mikhail Golovatov. READ MORE

Gas or Position

By Mikhail Zakharov

Russia wishes to pipe the third gas line along the bottom of Baltic Sea. READ MORE

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Refutes and Explains

The information Internet portal Zakon.kz  held an online-conference with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov. READ MORE

Landsbergis: What Kind of the EU Member it is that Violates Openly the European Law

MEP Vytautas Landsbergis considers that with respect to the decision of Austria to release Mikhail Golovatov, suspected in participation in the events of January i13th in Vilnius, they should address the European institutions urgently. READ MORE

Advisor: Polish Presidency wants new 'European contract'


By Barbara Bodalska

Poland wants to draw up a new 'contract' for the EU that would highlight the benefits of EU membership and redefine the joint responsibilities of member states, says Paweł Świeboda in an exclusive interview with EurActiv Poland. READ MORE

Iranian top official: Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be conducted more effectively inside region

By R.Hafizoglu, T. Jafarov

Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are at a very high level. READ MORE

Norwegian entrepreneurs satisfied with working conditions in Estonia

By Juhan Tere

Norwegian businessmen are mostly satisfied with the work of Estonian business managers and the country's low-cost industrial potential, LETA/BBN reports referring to Aripaev. READ MORE

Gryshchenko says Ukraine will learn from Turkish experience

By Muhlis Kacar

A top Ukrainian diplomat has said his country will keep a close eye on Turkey as the country moves from a constitutional overhaul to the European integration process, stressing both countries can learn a lot from each other. READ MORE

NATO – Ukraine: Membership not in Shape but Essence

After the entrance of American missile cruiser “Monterey” into the Black Sea waters last week Russian authorities as if again has acknowledged the problem of “NATO by our borders”. It has been known for a long time that Viktor Yanukovych closely collaborates with NATO, and that there are plenty of Atlantists by him. But people have ignored it till recently. Now when the issue of gas is critical the parties think over how to press on the “partner”. It seems that Russia is already willing to take out one of the trump cards... READ MORE

Russian Foreign Minister Visits U.S., but Troubles Remain Hidden

By Robert Nicholson

Sergei Lavrov visited Washington to sign agreements on child adoption, visas, and nuclear safety. In reality, however, what Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are hailing as symbols of closer cooperation between the two countries are only a façade to cover up the lack of progress on the more critical issues dividing the two countries: Iran, missile defense, and human rights. READ MORE

Stable Moldova is in the interest of Lithuania and the EU

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the President of Parliament and Acting President of Moldova, Marian Lupu, and Prime Minister Vlad Filat to discuss bilateral relations, cooperation between Moldova and the European Union, Moldova's progress in implementing fundamental domestic structural reforms, and possible ways of resolving the protracted conflict in Transnistria. READ MORE

Belarusian Way of Kazakh Oil

By Vladimir Dunayev

After the declarations of Alexander Lukashenko in Astana about the prospects of Kazakh oil supplies to Belarus experts close to Belarusian authorities started to persuade people that Kazakhstan is evidently interested in cooperation with our country as it opens a direct access to European market. The situation is represented in such a way that state of unsettlement of some issues of the CU impedes to involve Kazakhstan into the new way of hydro carbons supply to Europe. However, the reaction of Kazakhstan on these songs of Belarusian alarms looks pragmatically reserved. READ MORE

Criminal Murder Case was Initiated in Austria against Rakhat Aliyev

By Dmitry Vachedin

Austrian Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation of the crimes in which Kazakhstan blames its ex-Ambassador Rakhat Aliyev. Earlier several times Vienna has refused Astana to extradite Aliyev. READ MORE

Could Energy Resources Cause Russia to Spark a Naval War in the Caspian?

By John Daly

In the past three decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has developed a well-earned sense of paranoia. First, in September 1980 Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in what he thought would be a quick military victory, but which quickly turned into an eight-year bloody slugfest, leaving an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 dead before the guns fell silent. READ MORE

Iran, Long Seen As An Economic Basket Case, Wins Praise From IMF

By Robert Tait

If you were seeking endorsement of Iran's economic policies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hardly seems like the ideal reference point. READ MORE

Finnish president: 'We've overestimated the Lisbon Treaty'

By Daniela Vincenti Mitchener

The EU has overestimated the importance of the Lisbon Treaty and the international community is still wondering who speaks for the European Union on the international stage, Finnish President Tarja Halonen said in an exclusive interview with EurActiv. READ MORE

Saudi-Sino relations are flourishing

By Ruth Kirchner

As a controversy rages in Germany about a reported secret deal to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia, another partnership is less known. China and Saudi Arabia have become increasingly close in recent years. READ MORE

Iran’s nuclear program helped by China, Russia

By Eli Lake

Cooperation began in 1990s. READ MORE

Is Lithuania’s energy independence realistic?

By Živilė Marija Vaicekauskaitė

In the context of discussions and plans concerning construction of a new nuclear power plant (NPP) in Visaginas the following question arises: is Lithuania’s energy independence realistic and what measures or actions could guarantee Lithuania’s sovereignty? READ MORE

Post-Soviet Integration - New Hopes

By Danyil Rozanov

The process of the Common Economic Space launch preparation goes on. This is a new integration mega-project within post-soviet area. On July 1st 2011 starts a new formation stage of the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Customs bodies finish the performance customs control over the goods within internal borders of the Customs Union states – the most important stage of the CES establishment. Its initiators underline success achieved within development of common internal market of the CU states undertime. The EU states spent 36 years on that; Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with joint efforts managed to do that in a year. It is supposed that the CES starts operating on January 1st of 2012. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan’s Chaotic Foreign Policy

By Erica Marat

Since the April 7, 2010 regime change in Kyrgyzstan, experts have debated whether the country is leaning more toward Russia or the United States. President Roza Otunbayeva has met with both the Russian and US presidents, participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana and visited several European capitals. Kyrgyz government officials and the parliament, however, have leaned more toward strengthening cooperation with Moscow and Kazakhstan. Which of the directions has been Kyrgyzstan’s priority in the past year? READ MORE

Central Asia: the discourse of danger

By John Heathershaw and Nick Megoran

From policy reports and academic studies, to computer games and television mini-series, Central Asia is routinely portrayed as overwhelmingly dangerous. Does it matter that serious analyses dovetail with fictional accounts? John Heathershaw and Nick Megoran argue that it does, because it indicates a common Western geopolitical vision of Central Asia that distorts policy towards the region. READ MORE

Interview with Donald Tusk, the Polish premier

By Jan Cienski and Joshua Chaffin

Financial Times: Poland is beginning its European Union presidency at a momentous time for the Union – the euro crisis, Schengen, north Africa. What are the scenarios and solutions? READ MORE

Giscard: Europe needs a people’s congress

By Daniela Vincenti-Mitchener

EU leaders are too focused on the short term of upcoming elections and lack a strategic vision to give new impetus to European integration and better connect with citizens, said Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. READ MORE

Kazakhstan’s Balancing Act

By Daniel Wagner and Luca Costa

Kazakhstan has become the most developed country in Central Asia over the past decade as a result of its rapid oil-driven growth and pragmatic foreign policy. President Nazarbayev has skilfully balanced the country’s diverse range of interests and maintained a sensible equilibrium between Kazakhstan’s two most significant international partners—Russia and the U.S.—whose interests compete in the region. While Russia has an historical and geographic comparative advantage, Kazakhstan’s relations with the U.S. are significant and growing. Nazarbayev has balanced relations between Russia and the U.S. by sending cheap oil to Russia and becoming an integral part of Washington’s War on Terror. READ MORE

Lithuanian-U.S. cooperation priorities discussed between Grybauskaite and Clinton

By Petras Vaida

President Dalia Grybauskaite met with Unites States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, currently visiting Vilnius at her invitation, to discuss energy and regional security issues, Lithuanian-U.S. cooperation priorities, and prospects of democratic development in the neighboring countries. READ MORE


In Vilnius, Lithuania and Ukraine signed a joint declaration on cooperation at both an international and regional level, which provides for consultations of the countries on international and regional issues, also during their chairmanship of regional organizations, and as Ukraine is looking forward to progress on the Association Agreement with the European Union. READ MORE

SCO faces real challenges ahead

By Naveed Ahmad

Just about a fortnight ago the Kazakh capital of Astana was buzzing with diplomatic bustle as top leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered to mark the bloc’s 10th anniversary. READ MORE

The CSTO is in Search within Strategic Directions

By Tevan Poghosyan

Most Russian and European politicians and experts admit the obvious amorphism of the CSTO and its incomplete adequacy towards real challenges. READ MORE

The President of Lithuania met with the President of Kosovo

President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė had a meeting with the President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga. The leader of Kosovo attended yesterday the high-level conference ‘Women Enhancing Democracy: Best Practices' initiated by the Lithuanian and Finnish heads of state. READ MORE

Riyadh will build nuclear weapons if Iran gets them, Saudi prince warns

By Jason Burke in Riyadh

Prospect of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East is raised by senior diplomat and member of the Saudi ruling family. READ MORE

First breakthrough possible in Kosovo-Serbia talks

A "concrete" breakthrough is in the offing this weekend at EU-brokered Serbia-Kosovo talks to ease headaches caused by Belgrade's non-recognition of Pristina's independence, an EU source said Friday. READ MORE

U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on Afghanistan on June 22. Whatever he says, it is becoming apparent that the United States is exploring ways to accelerate the drawdown of its forces in the country. It is also clear that U.S. relations with Pakistan are deteriorating to a point where cooperation — whatever level there was — is breaking down. These are two intimately related issues. Any withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly an accelerated one, will leave a power vacuum in Afghanistan that the Kabul government will not be able to fill. Afghanistan is Pakistan’s back door, and its evolution is a matter of fundamental interest to Pakistan. A U.S. withdrawal means an Afghanistan intertwined with and influenced by Pakistan. Therefore, the current dynamic with Pakistan challenges any withdrawal plan. READ MORE

The Divided States of Europe

By Marko Papic

Europe continues to be engulfed by economic crisis.   The global focus returns to Athens on June 28 as Greek parliamentarians debate austerity measures imposed on them by eurozone partners. If the Greeks vote down these measures, Athens will not receive its second bailout, which could create an even worse crisis in Europe and the world. READ MORE

The Polish EU Presidency: Budget and solidarity

Paving the way for an "ambitious" agreement on the 2014-2020 budget, energy security and the European Union's Eastern neighbourhood are all key priorities of the Polish EU Presidency during the second half of 2011. The Poles, for their part, have pulled all the stops to ensure that the Union remains committed to redistributive policies at a time of economic austerity. READ MORE

Due West: Ukraine Turns Gaze Back to Brussels

By Konstantin von Eggert

Last Monday, the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant published a document described as a Ukrainian government plan for developing relations with NATO. Ukraine has enjoyed a privileged “partnership” status with the alliance since the late 1990s.  Despite this, the general public attitude among Ukrainians toward NATO is ambiguous at best, with only around 30 percent of the population supporting the prospect of Ukraine's membership in the alliance. The document published by Kommersant describes plans by the government in Kiev that go a long way towards rapprochement with NATO. Indeed, the plans might even be interpreted as a road map towards starting to acquire the NATO Membership Action Plan – a step in relations considered as a tacit admission that a country aspiring to join the alliance is on track to eventually doing so. READ MORE

Dispatch: Greek Austerity Measures and the Wider Eurozone Threat

Analyst Marko Papic examines the upcoming parliamentary vote on Greek austerity measures and cautions that the real threat to the eurozone is likely to come from Italy and Spain. READ MORE

Astana – Vienna: Hard Talk

By Felix Zutner

The Head of the state Nursultan Nazarbayev has authorized the security officials to adopt all measures for the extradition of Rakhat Aliyev: “Austria is our partner, with which we have great economic relations. Now Austrian government has no arguments not to deliver these criminals, for the justice to triumph. Rakhat Aliyev is in fear, that is why he initiates in order to distract the attention of public from this fact of murder of young men, which is irrefutably proven, and wants to purge himself from suspicion. And despite all these we should finish the case”. READ MORE

European Natural Gas Pipelines Plagued by Uncertainties


Could the plan to build the world’s most expensive natural gas pipeline turn out to be an elaborate bluff? READ MORE