Editor's choice
Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

After months of diplomacy by e-mail, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Washington DC in the first week of May for negotiations led by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the United States providing facilitation and support, writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. The presence of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the opening of the talks, raised expectations that the talks may be conclusive. They were not, but enough progress was made for Blinken to return for the closing session, telling his guests that the US appreciated that the last bit of any negotiating process was going to be the most difficult. "The temptation to draw out the ongoing situation for many more months, with the hope that time is on their side, has big risks. Unplanned incidents still have the capacity to escalate quickly and spiral out of control, feeding on the existing level of mistrust. The violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan reported this morning (11 May) is a case in point. So in many ways this is the moment of truth, even if some would argue that we have been here before. Somehow however this time it feels different, even if the nitty-gritty problems have not gone away," they add.
Opinion: religious diplomacy should be factored into the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process

"Religion has taken a place in the narratives that depict two warring sides locked into perpetual battle, and the international media nearly always frames the conflict as one between “Christian Armenia” and “Muslim Azerbaijan”, implanting that image in the minds of readers," writes Onnik James Krikorian in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.

patrickn97 Thu, 05/11/2023 - 08:07
Russia lifts ban on flights to Georgia, removes visa restrictions for Georgian citizens
On Wednesday (10 May), Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two separate decrees lifting a ban on flights to Georgia, and abolishing visas for Georgian citizens. From 15 March, Georgian nationals will be allowed to enter Russia without visas for up to 90 days. Lifting the ban on flights reverses a 2019 decision in which the Kremlin banned air traffic with Georgia following a wave of anti-Kremlin protests there. After President Putin signed the decrees, the Russian Foreign Ministry also released a statement reversing its 2019 advice against Russian citizens travelling to Georgia. The statement added that Putin's decrees "are in line with our principled approach of consistently facilitating the conditions for communication and contacts between the citizens of Russia and Georgia, despite the absence of diplomatic relations". Later, Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti reported that the Georgian Deputy Minister of the Economy and Sustainable Development Mariam Kvrivishvili said that Georgia would issue permits for direct flights to non-sanctioned airlines, before adding that authorities were yet to receive any such requests from Russian airlines.
patrickn97 Wed, 05/10/2023 - 16:13
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan agree to increase cultural cooperation

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have agreed to increase cultural cooperation, reports The Astana Times on Tuesday (9 May).

Kazakh Minister of Culture and Sports Askhat Oralov announced last week that his country intends to strengthen cultural ties with Azerbaijan and other Turkic countries through the Organization of Turkic States and the International Organization of Turkic Culture.

patrickn97 Wed, 05/10/2023 - 10:00
Editor's choice
Russian brigade flees Bakhmut, UK prepares to supply Ukraine longer-range missiles

Russian brigade flees Bakhmut, UK prepares to supply Ukraine longer-range missiles

An entire Russian brigade has reportedly fled the embattled town of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine. This news was initially announced by the Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, and confirmed by Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade on Tuesday (9 May).  Russian forces have been trying to take the town for some 10 months, but have reportedly taken huge losses in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance. Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of around 70,000, has been almost completely destroyed by the fighting. "Prigozhin's report about the escape of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces from Bakhmut and the '500 corpses' of Russians who remained there is true. The Third Assault Brigade is grateful for the publicity of our success at the front," the Third Assault Brigade wrote in a statement. Meanwhile, the leader of the Third Assault Brigade, Andriy Biletskiy, claimed that they had liberated a 3km x 2.6km strip of land south-west of Bakhmut in the process.