Stories in this section cover various issues and stories from all around the world.

Biden meets C5 leaders to confirm commitment for Central Asian countries security and prosperity
US President, Joe Biden, on Tuesday (19 September) met in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the leaders of the five Central Asian Republics. Attending the meeting were the presidents of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This was the inaugural C5+1 presidential summit.   A readout from the White House said that the leaders discussed a range of issues, including security, trade and investment, regional connectivity, the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, and ongoing reforms to improve governance and the rule of law. 
dennis2020 Wed, 09/20/2023 - 09:17 Biden to meet Central Asian leaders in the first C5+1 presidential summit
For a number of years, the United States has promoted a mechanism for dialogue with the five Central Asian Republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Known as the C5 + 1 these meetings have usually be en held at the level of foreign minister. The first meeting was held in 2015, and the mechanism now also has a secretariat to ensure continuation between meetings. Today (19 September) in New York, US president Joe Biden will take the relationship further, by upgrading the dialogue to presidential level. This is both symbolic and significant. For a long time the United States has been accused of abandoning Central Asia, tacitly accepting that this was Russia's back yard. Well if it ever was, it no longer is. China has become an even more important player in Central Asia than Russia, and the Central Asian Republics are desperately trying to open up to the world. A slow, painful but hugely necessary process of reform is taking place in the five countries, in some pursued with more enthusiasm than others. At today's meeting, President Biden is expected to give encouragement to this reform process, but the key message will be one of support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the five countries - a welcome message in the region given Russia's continued pressures.  Also on the US president's agenda will be Afghanistan, which neighbours a number of the C5 countries. And of course there is the issue of sanctions against Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been trying to use the Central Asian republics to circumvent the sanctions. This is an important issue for the international community and the US president will seek the best way to secure the support of the C5 governments.
dennis2020 Tue, 09/19/2023 - 08:18

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Turkey agrees Sweden NATO membership as summit begins in Lithuania
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to Sweden's membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), hours before the military alliance's summit is due to get underway in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Tuesday (11 July). The NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday evening (10 July) that President Erdogan would forward Sweden's bid to the Turkish parliament in Ankara and "ensure ratification". He described it as a "historic step" but stressed that a "clear date" for Sweden's formal accession to the organisation could not yet be given as this relies on both the Turkish parliament as well as Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and the Hungarian parliament. Hungary and Turkey remain the only two NATO members who are not yet to retify Sweden's membership. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday that ratification of Sweden's bid is now "only a technical question". Reacting to the news, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said: "I am very happy, it is a good day for Sweden."
patrickn97 Tue, 07/11/2023 - 09:46
Opinion: Central Asia is treading carefully after Wagner's mutiny in Russia

"As Russia tries to manage its internal challenges, Central Asian countries are treading carefully, prioritising stability and cooperation and avoiding involvement in Russia's internal affairs," writes Arianna Belluardo in this op-ed for

patrickn97 Tue, 07/04/2023 - 12:01
Saudi Arabia to strengthen partnerships with Hong Kong, China
Saudi Arabia is keen to strengthen its partnernships with Hong Kong and mainland China, the Saudi communications and IT minister Abdullah Al-Swaha said on Sunday (2 July). Speaking at the "One Gateway Shared Vision — Hong Kong x Saudi Arabia" event in Hong Kong, Abdullah Al-Swaha said closer collaboration would help boost the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform agenda, a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil and diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as healthcare, tourism, education, infrastructure and recreation. "Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia are going through very promising transformations, where both economies are financial hubs in their own regions. We have an opportunity to build an innovation bridge, to leapfrog into the future with an innovation-based economy," he said. A "pro-partnership and pro-openness" Saudi Arabia was willing to do business with "any partner that can comply with our security and regulatory requirements," he said. Saudi authorities would look to work closely with Hong Kong across a range of sectors, including health sciences and biotechnology, environmental, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and smart cities, he said. Al-Swaha's visit to Hong Kong the Arab-China Business Conference held in Riyadh last month, at which Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom could serve as China’s gateway to the Arab world.
patrickn97 Mon, 07/03/2023 - 09:44
Editor's choice
Kyiv under Russian attack as African leaders arrive on peace mission

Kyiv under Russian attack as African leaders arrive on peace mission

Leaders and representatives of seven African countries - South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Uganda, the Republic of the Congo, Comoros and Egypt - as well as the African Union chief Azali Assoumani, have arrived in Kyiv on Friday (16 June) to promote an African peace plan aimed at ending the ongoing war in Ukraine. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is among the African delegation, and arrived at Kyiv's Nemishaeve railway station where he was greeted by Ukraine's special envoy for Africa and the Middle East, Maksym Subkh, as well as the South African ambassador to Ukraine, Andre Groenewald. According the Reuters news agency, the full peace proposal, which has not yet been made public, includes suggestions of a full withdrawal of Russian troops, the removal of all tactical nuclear weapons from the territory Belarus, the suspension of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, and broad sanctions relief. After arriving in Kyiv, African leaders headed to the Kyiv suburb of Bucha to pay there respects to the some 458 people who were killed during a brief Russian occupation in the opening weeks of the full-scale invasion last year, and are buried in a mass grave there.
Commentary: Kazakhstan throws a lavish party in honour of multilateralism
"Such big jamborees as the Astana International Forum happen often, and are – more often than not – considered as talking shops with limited results. They are usually a part of a branding exercise by countries that can afford them. Most participants forget about them the moment they leave, and the impact beyond that is often negligible," writes in this commentary. However, "the Astana International Forum marks the emergence of a new Kazakhstan on the international stage. This year’s event was the first. Future forums will be a good gauge for how this new Kazakhstan is performing." Writing for a blog on Al Jazeera on the eve of the opening of the forum, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister, Serik Zhumangarin described the Astana International Forum as “a global event aimed at renewing the culture of multilateralism”, and said that it was a part of Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy which seeks to engage countries in the north, south, east and west.
patrickn97 Tue, 06/13/2023 - 12:32
Editor's choice
Arab countries and China sign 30 deals worth $10bn at business conference in Riyadh

Arab countries and China sign 30 deals worth $10bn at business conference in Riyadh

Arab League countries and China have signed some 30 deals that total $10bn. This came on the first day of the 10th Arab-China Business Conference taking place in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on 11-12 June. The 30 investment agreements cover a wide range of areas, including technology, renewables, agriculture, real estate, minerals, supply chains, tourism, and healthcare. According to the Saudi Investment Ministry, the Saudi government also signed deals with a number of Chinese entities in areas such as automotive research, development, manufacturing and sales, development of tourism and other apps, and production of rail wagons and wheels in Saudi Arabia. The biggest deal reached totalled $5.6bn, and was struck between Saudi Arabia's Investment Ministry and Human Horizons, a Chinese developer of autonomous driving technologies and manufacturer of electric cars. Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong-based Android developer Hibobi Technology Ltd signed a $266 million deal to develop tourism and other apps.
UAE withdraws from joint naval patrols with the US

An announcement on Wednesday (31 May) that the UAE had withdrawn its participation from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) coalition is supposed to have caught the US by surprise. 

patrickn97 Tue, 06/06/2023 - 13:16