Black Sea grain deal extended for another two months

An agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain via its Black Sea ports was extended for a further two months, it was announced on Wednesday (17 May).

Ukraine is one of the world's top providers of grain. However Russia blocked its ports in the opening months of its full-scale of invasion of Ukraine in 2022, to leading to global fears of food shortages especially in poorer countries heavily reliant on Ukrainian grain.

patrickn97 Fri, 05/19/2023 - 09:43
Arab League welcomes back Syrian President Assad at 32nd summit in Jeddah
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is attending his first Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday (19 May) since his country was suspended from the group over the government's violent crackdown of pro-democracy protests in 2011 that led to the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. In the latest of a number of regional rapprochements, Syria was formally readmitted to the Arab League on 7 May after member states' foreign ministers voted to "resume the participation of the delegations of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic in the meetings of the Council of the League of Arab States", according to a statement. The 32nd Arab League summit in the Saudi port city of Jeddah comes amid a renewed sense of purpose and unity across the Arab world. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh said that he hoped the summit in Saudi Arabia "will lead to recommendations and decisions that contribute to resolving critical situations and difficult conditions faced by the Arab world, while preserving unity and solidarity among Arab brothers."
patrickn97 Fri, 05/19/2023 - 08:35
Editor's choice
Editorial: light at the end of the tunnel for Armenia and Azerbaijan

Editorial: light at the end of the tunnel for Armenia and Azerbaijan

The European Union continues to play an instrumental part in helping Armenia and Azerbaijan to narrow the differences between them and move closer to signing a peace agreement normalising relations, writes in this editorial.  On Sunday (14 May), European Council president Charles Michel, hosted Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Brussels for several hours of talks which Michel described as being “frank, open and result-oriented” and “focused on progress on the path towards Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization.” Michel said that “the leaders shared a common willingness for a South Caucasus at peace. I commend their respective efforts. Together, we reviewed all issues on our agenda.” political editor commenting on the results of the 14 May Brussels meeting said that clearly the negotiations have reached a decisive stage. This is now not a discussion on abstract principles but on tangible and practical issues that will have an impact on the lives of Armenians and Azerbaijanis across the region.
President Xi hosts first ever China-Central Asia summit in Xi'an
The President of China Xi Jinping is hosting the first ever China-Central Asia summit on Thursday and Friday (18 and 19 May). President Xi will host the presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the historic city of Xi'an, which once marked the beginning of the Silk Road trade route stretching from China to Europe. It will be the first in-person meeting between the presidents of the six countries after they held an online summit in January 2022 marking 30 years of relations. Chinese officials have said that the meeting will mark "a new era of cooperation" as Central Asia looks to expand ties both to its east and west as Russian influence in the region wanes as a result of its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the Chinese government newspaper Global Times, the presidents of the six countries will "exchange views on establishing mechanisms, cooperation and international, regional issues with respective concerns, as well as signing a slew of important political documents on trade, investment, connectivity and other areas".
patrickn97 Thu, 05/18/2023 - 08:28
UK and The Netherlands join forces to assist Ukraine in acquiring F-16 jets
The UK and The Netherlands have agreed to form an "international coalition" to assist Ukraine in acquiring F-16 fighter jets, the UK Government announced in a statement released on Tuesday (16 May). Meeting on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, prime ministers Rishi Sunak and Mark Rutte "agreed they would work to build international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F16 jets", the statement said. "The [British] Prime Minister reiterated his belief that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO and the leaders agreed on the importance of allies providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine to guarantee they can deter against future attacks," the statement added. This development followed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's suggestion that Kyiv could expect to receive F-16 fighter jets soon, expressing optimism about crucial decisions being made with the support of the UK. On 15 May in London, Zelensky and Sunak engaged in a two-hour discussion during the former's second visit to the UK since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.
patrickn97 Wed, 05/17/2023 - 07:34
Editorial: China wags the finger at the West ahead of its summit with Central Asian States

This editorial first appeared in the 16 May 2023 issue of our newsletter, Central Asia Concise. If you would like to subscribe to Central Asia Concise, or any other of our newsletters, please click here.

patrickn97 Tue, 05/16/2023 - 15:36