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Pashinyan visits Tbilisi: Armenia and Georgia agree to establish "strategic partnership"

Pashinyan visits Tbilisi: Armenia and Georgia agree to establish "strategic partnership"

Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, accompanied by senior ministers, visited Georgia on Friday (26 January) for meetings with prime minister Irakli Garibashvili and senior Georgian officials. Garibashvili and  Pashinyan on Friday discussed the “fruitful” bilateral ties after signing an agreement on upgrading them to a strategic co-operation in Tbilisi earlier during the day. In a face-to-face meeting in Tbilisi before the launch of an Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission session at the Government office, Garibashvili expressed confidence the new deal would strengthen the cooperation, the Georgian Government press office said.  In his remarks, Garibashvili noted the two states had “always been strategic friends and partners”, adding “this reality has officially been signed today”. “We discussed important matters concerning the existing relations, partnership, and cooperation between the two countries in all directions”, he said. We have a very good partnership, relationship, cooperation in all directions and de facto, it can be said that we were already strategic friends and strategic partners. Today, it can be said, this reality has been formalised, and we officially signed a cooperation agreement on strategic partnership” Garibashvili also called Georgia and Armenia “traditionally [and] historically very strong allies” and “friends, not just neighbours”. Security considerations in the region and wider world were among the issues discussed, with the Georgian PM pointing to the significance of “supporting peace and stability” in the South Caucasus, noting such efforts would unlock “fresh opportunities” for the region.
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Young voices
The Cambodian spirit remains high despite the danger of landmines

The Cambodian spirit remains high despite the danger of landmines

Walking through the temples of Angkor Wat, the sound of musical instruments was making its way through the jungle, complementing the birds. Once I got closer to the musical instruments, I realised that that the singers were victims of landmines, trying to bring awareness to this danger through music. They were not looking for pity or money, simply to share flyers on the history of landmines in Cambodia and its terrible effects that continue to affect civilians. This encounter sparked my interest as Cambodia is rarely mentioned in news or research papers.
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Opinion
Opinion: Committing to doing what it takes for Ukraine to achieve victory

Opinion: Committing to doing what it takes for Ukraine to achieve victory

2024 started with an unprecedented number of Russian drones and ballistic missiles raining down on Ukraine. In this op-ed published this week on various media outlets, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, argues that Ukraine prevailing against the Russian aggression is the best security guarantee for Europe and that a paradigm shift is needed from supporting Ukraine for 'as long as it takes' to committing to 'what it takes' for Ukraine to achieve victory. Borrell argues that we must intensify our efforts to win the race against time with Putin’s Russia. "We cannot allow him to prevail. Our own security is at stake. Should Putin’s strategy prove successful, it would embolden Russia and other autocracies to pursue their imperialist agendas. We must at any cost prevent a world where might makes right, where powerful countries change borders at will, and the weak fall prey to the strong. Allowing such a scenario would cast a long shadow over our future for decades to come. Ukraine prevailing against the Russian aggression is the best security guarantee for Europe. A Russia that learnt to stay within its borders will lessen pressure on its neighbours, ease Ukraine’s path to EU membership and allow Europe and the world to shift attention to the many other challenges that need solving. With our assistance, Ukraine can consign Russia’s imperial ambitions to the pages of history. This must guide our actions and thinking."
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News
Sweden one step closer to joining NATO

Sweden one step closer to joining NATO

The Turkish Grand National Assembly (Parliament), on Tuesday, 23 January, ratified the agreement on Swedish membership of NATO, bringing the Scandinavian country one step closer to fulfilling its historic decision to abandon its decades-long neutrality and join the military alliance in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the threat that poses to the European security order. The ratification was adopted by the national assembly in a vote of 287 to 55. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now expected to sign the accession agreement. formalising the process of Turkish ratification. All members of NATO have to approve the addition of new members to the organisation. The only remaining NATO country to finalise the ratification process is Hungary  “Today we are one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO,” tweeted Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. On Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reached out to Kristersson, asking him to come down to Budapest and negotiate about the NATO bid, an idea swiftly rejected by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.
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Analysis
Unblocking the Caspian route for Turkmen gas

Unblocking the Caspian route for Turkmen gas

Turkmenistan, for decades considered one of the most closed countries in the world, is moving towards modest attempts at opening up its economy. Western sanctions against Russia which caused a gradual halt to energy supply from Russia to Europe and swelling Russian gas supplies to China, once Turkmenistan’s almost-exclusive client, made Ashgabat face a new reality that challenged its longstanding economic model, resulting in a significant deterioration of living standards and social discontent. Against this background, the country had to start considering options for diversifying its gas export geography and attracting foreign investment, writes Murad Muradov in this analysis prepared for commonspace.eu. The big question remains however whether the long-cherished idea of the Transcaspian pipeline, a link which would bring Turkmenistan’s gas to European markets, will finally come to fruition after many years of aborted attempts and uncertainty. This may be within reach sooner and faster than expected.