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News
Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

After hours of negotiations, with the mediation of European Council president Charles Michel, and French president Emanuel Macron, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan , Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, have taken a historic step towards lasting peace. Both countries have recognised each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and committed to tangible steps to establish peace and stability in the region. President Macron tweeted early this morning "Tonight, Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty." The four leaders held two long sessions of negotiations on the margins of the summit of the European Political Community which was launched at Prague Castle on Thursday afternoon (6 October). It is also understood that a number of other decisions were taken. It was agreed that the EU will deploy on the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border a civilian monitoring mission, for a period of two months starting from October.
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News
First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

In the historic settings of Prague Castle, leaders from across Europe gathered on Thursday for the first summit of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom With the dramatic consequences of Russia’s aggression war, EU leaders agreed during the European Council meeting in June 2022 to launch the European Political Community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent. The ambition is to bring leaders together on the European continent and to foster their cooperation on issues of common interest, revolving around peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. No formal written outcome of the European Political Community is envisaged. After the traditional family photo, the meeting kicked off with a round table discussion on peace and security in Europe. This story will be updated throughout the day.
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News
Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders from across Europe have gathered at Prague Castle for the launch of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom An unusual scene, even before the summit had started was of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan meeting informally before the opening of the summit. This story will be updated throughout the day.

Focus on Central Asia

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News
CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is set to become a fully fledged international organisation during a summit of leaders of its members to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 12-13 October. A Special Working Group (SWG) meeting held on 28-29 September, has made a major advance in preparing draft documents to be adopted at the upcoming sixth CICA Summit. The main document includes a draft Astana Statement on CICA Transformation, which is designed to transform CICA into a full-fledged international organization. Other draft documents include a draft of the CICA Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Security and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies and draft the CICA Plan of Action on the Implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Voices - Opinion and analysis

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Monday Commentary
Opinion: Preparing for the worst, whilst working to avoid it

Opinion: Preparing for the worst, whilst working to avoid it

Putin’s annexation of parts of Ukraine takes the world to the verge of War, but a stronger and more united global condemnation of Russian aggression can still make Putin step back. Monday Commentary is back. Every Monday, commonspace.eu Managing Editor, Dennis Sammut discusses a hot topic on the European and international agenda. This week he weighs the implications of Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine, and the dilemma it poses to the rest of the world. He argues that it takes the world to the verge of a world war involving nuclear-armed states. But this can still be avoided if there is more global unity in condemnation of the Russian aggression.
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Analysis
Analysis: Russia's "Wagner group" poses a threat to peace and security in the Sahel

Analysis: Russia's "Wagner group" poses a threat to peace and security in the Sahel

While the world’s attention is focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s presence in Africa, and particularly in Mali, increasingly represents a threat to international security, writes Camille Victor for commonspace.eu. Russia’s presence in Mali has generated considerable controversy since the end of 2021, with many Western powers denouncing the activities of the Russian “Wagner Group” paramilitary mercenaries in the country, accusing them of violating human rights and the rule of law. Indeed, while Mali had been cooperating closely with France in the fight against terrorism since 2013, the Malian junta that seized power in a coup in May 2021 has drastically changed its foreign policy, now turning to Moscow to help stabilise the security situation by employing the services of this shady Kremlin-linked private security group. Given that Mali’s security is currently in the hands of forces that not only fail to effectively counter an increasing terrorist threat, but also to fail to respect human rights and the rule of law, all the while facing zero accountability for their abuses, ensuring that the junta upholds its commitment to conduct democratic elections in 2024 must remain a priority. In the meantime, an integrated security risk management and peacebuilding strategy should include measures that encourage transparency and accountability for abuses and breaches to the rule of law committed by security forces, notably through strengthening civilian institutions and oversight mechanisms.
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Opinion
Opinion: Armenia and Azerbaijan have embarked on a long and arduous journey towards sustainable peace. Continued lack of trust seriously hampers the process, and needs to be addressed as a priority.

Opinion: Armenia and Azerbaijan have embarked on a long and arduous journey towards sustainable peace. Continued lack of trust seriously hampers the process, and needs to be addressed as a priority.

In this Joint Policy Discussion Paper, Ahmad Alili and Benyamin Poghosyan welcome the start of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on a meaningful peace treaty. They warn however that, at all levels, trust between the two sides remains very low and that this will make the process difficult. They urge both sides to conduct the negotiations with a strong sense of realism, and to ensure that the speed of the negotiations is well calibrated.
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Interview
Opinion: "Our ambition in Kosovo is to transform our young and vibrant democracy into the most prosperous nation in the region"

Opinion: "Our ambition in Kosovo is to transform our young and vibrant democracy into the most prosperous nation in the region"

Recently, the Government of Kosovo submitted a formal application to join the Council of Europe as a full member. The international community remains divided on the issue of Kosovo's international recognition. Yet in the few years since its independence Kosovo has made great strides forward, and today has one of the most dynamic economies in the Western Balkans, a vibrant cultural life, and a solid track record on human rights and the fight against corruption. commonspace.eu interviewed the Ambassador of Kosovo to the Netherlands, Dren Doli, about the current state of play in relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and on the thorny issue of whether the recognition of Kosovo has emboldened secessionist movements elsewhere. Ambassador Doli said that "the tendency to use Kosovo as a model for other cases is a strategy to generalise the rules that guide the creation of states and inflict confusion, deflect the truth, and deny the significance of objective arguments that differentiate Kosovo from other cases". Doli told commonspace.eu that "Kosovo is one of the rare examples of successful democratic state-building supported by western democracies". Ambassador Doli said that the government of Kosovo is committed to further develop and improve its relations with Serbia and welcomes any initiative  by the EU and the US in this direction.
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Event
Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani expert group on confidence-building measures agrees to intensify efforts

Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani expert group on confidence-building measures agrees to intensify efforts

The Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on Confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus (JOLIG), made up of 11 Armenian and Azerbaijani independent experts and opinion-shapers, met in Kachreti, Georgia on 27 and 28 June 2022 to review its activity, and agree on a strategy as to how its work on confidence-building measures can contribute to efforts aimed at bringing lasting peace in the South Caucasus. Participants discussed ongoing efforts aimed at establishing the right conditions for the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan being undertaken by the governments of the two countries with the support of international players. They called on the leadership of the two countries to remain focused and committed to this mission. The group emphasised its belief that confidence-building measures are necessary to be implemented in the current state of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, and were indispensable as the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan seek peaceful solutions to long lasting disputes and controversies between them.

Focus on Yemen

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Analysis
Analysis: Origins of the Houthi supremacist ideology

Analysis: Origins of the Houthi supremacist ideology

One of the several, often overlooked, challenges facing Yemen is the supremacist and divisive ideological basis of the Houthi movement. The movement’s ideology has rebellion and violence at its core, a recipe that can perpetuate crises within a society. In this analysis for commonspace.eu, Noman Ahmed and Mahmoud Shamsan shed light on the ideological fault lines that fuel the current conflict in Yemen, highlighting the nature of this ideology, which suggests that Ahl al-Bayt — descendants from the family of the Islamic Prophet — are, by divine decree, considered to be more deserving of the right to greater political and religious rule than other socio-political components. The analysis then looks into the background of the Houthis and argues that the ideology is a catalyst for conflict rather than peaceful political competition, and that so long as the Houthi political goal of Hashemite dominance remains unrealised, Houthi desire for conflict will not recede.

Focus on the South Caucasus

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Opinion
Opinion: Beware of Americans bearing gifts

Opinion: Beware of Americans bearing gifts

In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan says that the visit of Nancy Pelosi to Armenia created quite a lot of hype, since some saw in it the prospects for national salvation. But the visit's "democracy vs authoritarianism agenda" is risky for Armenia he argues.   Armenia should send clear signals to Russia and Iran that it has no intention to join the “democracy vs. authoritarianism fight” and will never allow anyone to use its territory for anti-Iranian or anti-Russian activities.
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Opinion
Opinion: A peace process in jeopardy

Opinion: A peace process in jeopardy

"The recent flare-up along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the subsequent developments in Armenia  raise concerns that the region might be, unfortunately, still far away from a peace treaty and a peaceful future", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "Surprisingly for many observers, the proposal for a peace treaty on the basis of mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally-recognized borders is not supported by a large number of Armenians", he adds.
Promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and a secure and prosperous Europe in friendship and solidarity with its neighbours

commonspace.eu  is an activity of LINKS Europe, an independent foundation based in The Hague, The Netherlands. We focus on issues related to European peace and security, Europe's neighbouring regions, including Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia; North Africa and the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. We aim to provide insights and analysis on different topics in our area of interest, and a platform for diverse opinions.