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Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
patrickn97 Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
Briefing: intensive diplomatic efforts around the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process
Intense diplomatic efforts over the last month are a good reflection of a sustained determination on the part of Armenia and Azerbaijan to bring their decades-old conflict to an end, and sign a peace agreement, writes Meetings between president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia were held in Brussels on 15 May, with the mediation of EU Council president Charles Michel. The three leaders met again on 1 June in Chisinau, this time also with the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Aliyev and Pashinyan met, together with president Putin of Russia, in Moscow on 25 May. And on 4 June the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan were in Ankara for the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new term in office, where they also met informally. The next formal meeting is now set to be held in July in Brussels. A lot is also going on behind the scenes with European and American envoys travelling in the region.
patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 11:21
EU interior ministers reach "historic" agreement on migration, but significant opposition remains
Interior ministers from the European Union's 27 member states reached a deal on the bloc's migration policy yesterday (8 June) after some 12 hours of negotiations at a meeting in Luxembourg. The agreement outlines how responsibility for looking after migrants and refugees who arrive in the EU without authorisation is shared out among member states, a topic which has been the source of much disagreement since 2015, when well over 1 million migrants and refugees entered the EU, many of them fleeing the war in Syria. Under the deal agreed yesterday and set to be finalised ahead of a 2024 EU election, each country would be responsible for a set number of people, but would not necessarily have to take them in. Countries unwilling to receive irregular migrants and refugees arriving ad hoc to the EU would be able to help their hosting peers through cash - around 20,000 euros per person - equipment or personnel, reports Reuters. The agreement would introduce a new expedited border procedure for those deemed unlikely to win asylum to prevent them from lingering inside the bloc for years.
patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 10:37
Opinion: we may still be far from an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty

Current circumstances in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process raise a number of questions, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for "Above all, it is unclear whether Baku and Yerevan will be able to stand resilient against all this pressure from the Russian side.

patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 09:57
First Astana International Forum taking place in Kazakhstan on 8-9 June
The first Astana International Forum (AIF) is taking place in Kazakhstan on Thursday and Friday (8-9 June). An initiative of the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Astana International Forum writes that it will "serve as a platform for high-level delegates from foreign governments, international organizations, businesses and academic circles to engage in dialogue and seek solutions to problems such as climate change, food shortages and energy security". Over 1,000 people will participate in the conference, which is running under the theme "Tackling Challenges Through Dialogue: Towards Cooperation, Development & Progress". There will be several keynote speeches and over 40 panel sessions, discussions, and side events. The decline of Russia in Central Asia as a result of its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine has propelled the region into a new geopolitical reality. Especially on trade, difficulties trading via Russia as a result of sanctions have given Central Asia a renewed, critical position in facilitating east-west trade. To that end, Central Asian connectivity is also high on the agenda at the AIF.
patrickn97 Thu, 06/08/2023 - 11:37
Editor's choice
600 square kilometres of southern Ukraine flooded after dam collapse

600 square kilometres of southern Ukraine flooded after dam collapse

600 square kilometres in Ukraine's southern Kherson region have been flooded after the Nova Kakhovka dam collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday (6 June). This was announced by the region's governor, Oleksandr Produkin. Speaking on Telegram, Produkin also said 32% of the flooded area is on the Ukrainian controlled right bank and 68% on the Russian occupied left bank. The average water level in flooded areas is currently 5.61m, with the town of Oleshky being particularly badly affected. In total, 30 communities have been affected, according to Ukrainian officials. As of Thursday morning (8 June), 2,000 people have been evacuated from affected areas while some who are stranded on the roofs of their homes in Russian-controlled areas have received drinking water by drone, the governor said. There have also been reports of Russian forces shelling affected areas and even shooting at Ukrainians trying to rescue people affected by the floods. While thousands have been made homeless, Ukrainian officials have said that hundreds of thousands now have no access to clean water, and irrigation systems served by the Dnieper river have been swept away, seriously damaging fertile land that could take years to recover.
Opinion: the future will show whether May 2023 was a breakthrough or another missed chance

The last month has probably been the single most active period in the long and complicated peace negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, writes Murad Muradov in this op-ed for The two countries' leaders have met three times, and a few significant developments have happened in between. So, depending on what we see in the coming weeks, May 2023 will go down in history either as a time of historic breakthrough or another big missed chance.

patrickn97 Thu, 06/08/2023 - 09:32
Slovenia beats Belarus to UN Security Council seat

Slovenia is set to take a place at the UN Security Council for the second time since gaining independence from Yugoslavia, beating Russian ally Belarus in a vote at the United Nations on Tuesday (6 June).

The race between the two members from the UN's Eastern Europe bloc was the only contested election for five seats on the UNSC. In the secret ballot election in the 193-member General Assembly, Slovenia received 153 votes while Belarus got 38 votes.

patrickn97 Wed, 06/07/2023 - 10:25
Iran reopens embassy in Saudi Arabia, consulate opening Wednesday
Iran has reopened its embassy in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday (6 June), the Saudi outlet Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday. The agreement to reopen embassies in each other's respective capitals was struck on 10 March in Beijing, re-establishing diplomatic ties that had been broken for years. You can read more about the 10 March agreement here. “We consider today an important day in the relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Bigdeli told a flag-raising ceremony, adding that “the cooperation between the countries is entering a new era.” At a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Cape Town last Friday (2 June), Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed satisfaction with the "good progress made in bilateral ties". The two foreign ministers were meeting in South Africa on the sidelines of the “Friends of BRICS” summit. The next BRICS summit between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will take place in Johannesburg in August. Meanwhile, the opening of the Iranian consulate in Jeddah is expected to take place on Wednesday (7 June).
patrickn97 Wed, 06/07/2023 - 09:51