May 2013

SILK-Afghanistan 2.0: Internet connectivity programme increases its sustainability


A ceremony to launch the second phase of the SILK-Afghanistan programme, which provides high-speed internet access to Afghan universities and some governmental institutions, took place on 29 May. The signature of a contract between Afghan Telecom and NATO signals a shift from the use of satellites towards fibre-optic communications. This is a more sustainable solution going forward and will help prepare the way for an eventual handover of the network to a European Union funding mechanism in the future.


Kambar-Ata-1 plant shoud be built - President Atambaev

Kyrgyzstan will be unable to discharge sufficient scope of water for irrigation purposes to downstream countries as Kambar-Ata-1 hydropower plant has not been built yet, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambaev said on May 21 at the meeting with representatives of the CIS, Baltic states and Georgia. READ MORE

NATO drone project set to continue

Pulling the plug on Germany's Euro Hawk project won't have consequences for NATO's surveillance program using "Global Hawk" models. But critics argue a joint European drone project would have been better. READ MORE

General Gerasimov Downplays Nuclear Cuts

By Roger McDermott

A conference on European security, organized by the Russian defense ministry on May 23–24 in Moscow, served as a platform for the top brass to reiterate well-worn themes and perspectives on a range of issues: from the United States’ ballistic missile defense (BMD) system to revamping the existing security structure in Europe. Alongside senior Russian defense officials and experts were a selection of counterparts from the US and Europe who discussed strategic issues linked to European and, indeed, global security. However, the set of interlinked views expressed during the conference—and representative of the ideas and policy stance among Russia’s defense leadership—displayed no tangible advance on similar statements in recent years. This is particularly clear with reference to the address by Army-General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff and first deputy defense minister (Interfax, May 24).  READ MORE

Vyacheslav Trubnikov: Nuclear power industry is the key to future development of Russian-Indian relations

By Natalia Evtikhevich

India entered the 21st century as a challenger for the role of a global center of influence, alongside the United States and China. Strategic partnership between Russia and India is a natural phenomenon and objective reality. The two countries’ national interests overlap in many areas. We discussed the current state of affairs and the prospects for the development of Indian-Russian relations with General of the Army, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, IMEMO Board of Directors member, RIAC member Vyacheslav Trubnikov. READ MORE

Economic Relations between Russia and the EU: In Search of a Common Vision

By Pavel Kanevskiy

The promotion of innovative business within European markets is not only key to overcoming the remaining differences between Russia and the European Union and establishing a mutually beneficial investment environment, but it is also an element of the Russian version of “soft power”. This article examines the existing models of Russia-Europe innovation cooperation, as well as its potential from the perspective of Russian foreign policy strategy. READ MORE

NATO To Open Liaison Office In Uzbekistan

By Joshua Kucera

NATO is opening a liaison office in Tashkent -- but don't read too much geopolitical significance into the move. A number of Russian-media outlets have reported the move, seeing in it yet another piece of evidence that Uzbekistan is moving away from Russia (leaving the Collective Security Treaty Organization) and toward the West (cooperating with the U.S. on military transit to and from Afghanistan, getting increasing military aid from Washington). READ MORE

Friedbert Pflüger: Climate change is no longer the EU’s only priority


By Lenka Ferenčáková

The EU’s climate policy has not vanished but the approach today is probably more balanced towards other aims like energy supply security and competitiveness, Friedbert Pflüger said. READ MORE

Ukraine OKs Bid for Customs Union Observer Status

The Ukrainian government on Wednesday approved a memorandum applying for observer status in the Customs Union, a Moscow-based trade bloc comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said. READ MORE

Minister: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey must work to attract cargo for Baku-Tbilisi-Kars

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey must work to attract cargo to be transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which is under construction, the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev said during a speech at the trilateral Azerbaijani-Georgian-Turkish business forum in Gabala on Saturday. READ MORE

Will Germany proceed to hold Europe on its shoulders?

By Inga Popovaitė

At the beginning of April German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent her vacation in the island close to Naples. She was visited by the Campania region governor Stefano Caldoro who afterwards posted a video on his website where he urged her to look at the difficult areas including youth unemployment rates 10 times those of Germany. It is not the first time when Germany is criticised by South European countries complaining that they have to apply strict austerity measures in exchange for financial assistance.   READ MORE

North Korea 'offers to discuss nuclear disarmament'


By Harriet Alexander

North Korea has offered to return to talks on nuclear disarmament, in a move designed to keep their Chinese allies happy. READ MORE

Alexei Vlasov: Kazakh President calls for vigilance

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's statement at the Astana Economic Forum has become significant for world expert circles, executive director of the Centre for Political Science North-South, director of the Centre for the Study of Socio-Political Processes in the Post-Soviet Space of the Moscow State University and member of Trend Expert Council Alexei Vlasov told Trend today. READ MORE

Russia Hosts European Security Conference

An international conference on European security opens on Thursday in Moscow with Russia hoping to discuss approaches to the new pan-European security architecture in an open dialogue with the European Union and the NATO. READ MORE

Why Ukraine needs Azerbaijan’s gas?

By Ellada Khankishiyeva

Offers by the Ukrainian side on Azerbaijani gas supplies to Ukraine are sounding more insistent each time. This is understandable: the times are changing, no alternatives are expected to hydrocarbons as an energy source in the foreseeable future, the demand for gas promises to grow in the future, and with it, the growth in prices is projected as well. Azerbaijan, once importing gas, now itself is a reliable supplier. The route for supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe is about to be chosen, while Ukraine is still dependent on energy supplies. READ MORE

Judy Asks: Is Support for the “Merkel Way” Fading?

By Judy Dempsey

The debate between advocates of austerity and supporters of stimulus still rages across Europe. Our experts assess whether backing for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s economic policies—the “Merkel way”—is starting to wane. READ MORE

East-Caspian Express: the Stop “Verticals”

By Mikhail Agadzhanyan

During the visit of the President of Turkmenistan Berdymukhamedov in Kazakhstan (May 10th -11th) an opening of Kazakhstani-Turkmen part of the railway Uzen – Bereket – Gorgan took place. The accomplishment of the railway project of three-party character in recent years has been contradicting. The first terms of the railway commissioning in a finalized Kazakhstani-Turkmen-Iranian way was planned for the end of 2011. Then they were postponed till December last year. But the parties didn’t manage to fit the reconsidered time frames of the railway commissioning. READ MORE

The Challenges for Iran's Next President


Iran's Guardian Council, the powerful vetting and oversight committee of the Islamic republic, announced Tuesday its list of eight approved candidates for the June 14 Iranian presidential election. A total of 686 presidential hopefuls had submitted their names for approval, though in recent days dozens of politicians and clerics had withdrawn their candidacies in support of better-known figures. Chief among them were former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. READ MORE

Europe’s Reaction and Prospects of Russian Gas Pipeline Project

By Eva Lukas

Recently announced gas pipeline project “Yamal – Europe 2” has already obtained scandalous color. The decision of the Prime-Minister of Poland Donald Tusk to fire the Minister of State Treasury of Poland, who was responsible for fuel-energy complex – is the first clear reaction of Europe on this project. The reason for such decision was the signing of the memorandum between “Gazprom” and ”EuRoPolGaz” on the intention regarding the construction of  the gas pipeline “Yamal-Europe-2”. The experts state – this project is of propaganda and blackmailing character. The objective is to force Ukraine to cooperate in gas-transporting sphere on the conditions of “Gazprom”. However, there are also other reasons to lobby the new project –  growing energy and political significance of Russia for Europe.  READ MORE

Eurosceptics running protection racket in Tory party, says Lord Mandelson

By Nicholas Watt

Mandelson says anti-EU Tories are threatening to 'burn down the house' unless David Cameron caves in to their demands READ MORE

Chinese premier seeks 'mutual trust' on trade and border dispute in first India visit


Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has vowed to increase "mutual trust" with India in his first trip abroad since assuming office. Talks with Indian leaders are expected to focus on trade and recent border tensions.  READ MORE

Martin Corey detention to be challenged in European court

By Vincent Kearney

Lawyers are to challenge the detention of an Irish republican from Lurgan, County Armagh, in the European court. READ MORE

The Process Stared

By Alina Kantor

In Europe proceed trials on the case of the escaped Kazakhstani banker Mukhtar Ablyazov. Now Irish authorities have joined the process of clearing the international fraud scheme. READ MORE

Iceland’s Recovery Saga Presents Opportunities for Brussels, Washington—and Beijing

By Guillaume Xavier-Bender

In front of the dominating church of Hallgrímur, in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, stands the statue of Leif Ericson. He is described as the “son of Iceland, discoverer of Vinland,” the Norse name for what would become North America. The inscription serves as a reminder of the island’s physical and symbolic position in the middle of the Atlantic. READ MORE

Iran's top nuclear negotiator: NPT members need to cooperate to use nuclear enegy peacefully


The members of NPT should be cooperating with each other to use nuclear energy peacefully, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili said, Press TV reported live.  READ MORE

Will Europe keep on fracking?


It's been more than 20 years since the last coal was dug out of the ground by the once-thriving mining communities of Belgium's Campine region. READ MORE

The Equation in Turkey-EU-USA Relations

By Fatma Yılmaz-Elmas

There are opinions, suggestions and discussions on the fact that 2013 has been and should be a crucial in terms of Turkey-EU relations. New era is regarded as a new opportunity to revitalize relations between Turkey and the EU which have been stable for a long period of time. Public opinion, based on both the transfer of the helm of EU term-presidency from Greek Cypriots to Ireland and leader change in Southern Cyprus as well as the promises of some politicians such as Hollande giving green light to the opening of new negotiation chapter, is dominated by the opinion and expectation of occurrence of new parameters in relations. In this regard, furthermore, the possible revival of relations with the EU may have Turkey empowered in the face of developments in its region. The possibility of conducting this interaction in the opposite direction is of course another issue at stake. Turkey to provide a unique opportunity as being an effective partner in its region to the EU, which couldn’t play first chair in international politics as far as the desired extent, is something which may increase the glamour regarding the revival of bilateral relations.   READ MORE

The Project of “Rosatom”, Targeted at European Market


By Thomas Jarvi

At the moment Kaliningrad region does not lack electric power, this is the main factor, in respect with which ecologists state, that there is no need in Baltic NPP. This is stated by the Leader of the Russian organization “Ekozashchita” (Ecodefense) Vladimir Slivyak, who deals with the issues of the BNPP from the very occurrence of this project in Russian enclave.  READ MORE

Croatia trying to learn from Kazakhstan to reach the goals and plans participation in EXPO-2017

Croatia is trying to learn from the experience of Kazakhstan to implement the "Strategy - 2050", is waiting for Kazakhstan investments and developing plans to participate in the EXPO-2017, and the business world is waiting for proposals of Kazakh business and is ready to share high technology and experience of the tourism industry. READ MORE

Nabucco Countries’ Governments Appeal to EU for Support of the Project

By Vladimir Socor

The governments of transit countries in the Nabucco-West project—Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria—have appealed to the European Union’s top executive authorities to support the selection of this pipeline route by the Shah Deniz gas producers in Azerbaijan. READ MORE

Russia’s Mediterranean Task Force to Include Nuclear Subs – Navy Chief

Russia’s Mediterranean task force will comprise 5-6 warships and may be enlarged to include nuclear submarines, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said on Sunday. READ MORE

The second step towards a global dialogue

Financial regulatory reforms proposed by G20 are not sufficient to restore the stability of the global financial system. This was repeatedly stated by international experts. The world is in search of a new interactive platform that would combine the best minds to develop scenarios for the world economy development. In recent years, developing countries have intensified in this matter. READ MORE

NATO in search of allies for deployment of military contingents in Central Asia

By Viktoriya Zhavoronkova

Not much time is left until 2014, when the withdrawal of NATO anti-terrorism coalition troops from Afghanistan is expected to take place; however, it still remains unknown what type of military contingent will remain in Afghanistan and Central Asia thereafter and which countries of the region will be selected by the West for this purpose. READ MORE

US and South Korea confirm united front against North Korea


US President Obama and his South Korean colleague Park have in Washington expressed their concern over the North's repeated provocations. Both reiterated their commitment to keeping up a strong military deterrent. READ MORE

Five Scenarios for the Future Borders of Central Asia


By Andrei Kazantsev

Central Asia is presently a vital area for world politics. The 9/11 acts of terror in New York and Washington showed that the collapse of states in this region as they lose control over their national borders may have serious repercussions for other parts of the world. In addition, the involvement of major world powers (China, Russia, the US, India, Pakistan) in regional affairs suggests that the borders of Central Asian countries may be changed to meet the interests of these outside players. How might national borders in the region change in one hundred years? READ MORE

China and North Korea: A Tangled Partnership


By Rodger Baker

China appears to be growing frustrated with North Korea's behavior, perhaps to the point of changing its long-standing support for Pyongyang. As North Korea's largest economic sponsor, Beijing has provided the North Korean regime with crucial aid for years and offered it diplomatic protection against the United States and other powers. To outsiders, China's alliance with North Korea seems like a Cold War relic with little reason for persisting into the 21st century. However, Beijing's continued support for Pyongyang is not rooted in shared ideology or past cooperation nearly as much as in China's own security calculations. READ MORE

Three scenarios for Ukraine

By Roman Rukomeda

It is possible that EU-Ukraine relations could take a negative turn in the coming months. READ MORE

Rouble-litas-euro: Lithuania's sour experience of currency change

The Government has decided that Lithuania must have the euro by 2015, whatever the cost. Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius, though, admits that ordinary people are a little suspicious of a currency switch – remember as they do the last monetary reforms in the country that went less than smoothly. READ MORE

Is Obama Appalled by His Own Anti-Terrorism Policies?


“I continue to believe that we’ve got to close Guantanamo,” said President Barack Obama at yesterday’s news conference. “The idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are.” READ MORE

Petrit Selimi: "Even Serbia Started to Perceive Kosovo as an Independent State "

By Anna Shelest

Kosovo diplomacy is young, but pretty active. Today it is very important for Pristina for the world to perceive it as an equal partner. And first of all Belgrade. READ MORE

Geopolitical aspects of the BRICS Association


By Viktor Denisenko

Today quite a lot of attention is given to the geopolitical association BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Although this is neither a real political or economic association nor an international organisation, BRICS is  increasingly being treated as an actually existing international policy entity.   READ MORE

Little joy - Croatia's path to the EU

In preparing to become the EU's 28th member state in July 2013, Croatia struggles with high unemployment and an ailing industry, among many other problems. Few are in the mood to celebrate. READ MORE