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EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

The European Union and the United States have made a generous financial pledge to Armenia and reaffirmed their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, EU High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, met today, April 5, 2024 in Brussels to reaffirm support for Armenia's sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. The statement concluded by saying that "A prosperous, sovereign, and democratic Armenia that develops its own partnerships and freely sets its own course will contribute to regional stability and prosperity."
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Blinken and Von der Leyen speak to Aliyev ahead of their meeting with Pashinyan

Blinken and Von der Leyen speak to Aliyev ahead of their meeting with Pashinyan

Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, is in Brussels, where he is expected to meet on Friday afternoon (5 April) with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. The unusual format of the tripartite meeting is being billed as "the joint EU-US-Armenia high-level meeting in support of Armenia’s resilience". There has been intense speculation about the purpose of the meeting, and the likely outcomes. Azerbaijan has seen it as an attempt to encourage Armenia to take a more hardline position in its dealings with it, including in the current negotiations of an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty. Russia has been vocal in criticising the meeting, seeing it as yet another western attempt at snatching Armenia away from the Russian orbit. Other countries, such as Turkey and Iran have also been critical of the three way meeting. Behind the scenes there have been a lot of work going on in order to calm down neves, especially in Baku, and ahead of the meeting, both Secretary of State Blinken and President von der Leyen, spoke to Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev.

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Opinion
Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

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.
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EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

The European Union and the United States have made a generous financial pledge to Armenia and reaffirmed their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, EU High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, met today, April 5, 2024 in Brussels to reaffirm support for Armenia's sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. The statement concluded by saying that "A prosperous, sovereign, and democratic Armenia that develops its own partnerships and freely sets its own course will contribute to regional stability and prosperity."
Editor's choice
News
Blinken and Von der Leyen speak to Aliyev ahead of their meeting with Pashinyan

Blinken and Von der Leyen speak to Aliyev ahead of their meeting with Pashinyan

Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, is in Brussels, where he is expected to meet on Friday afternoon (5 April) with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. The unusual format of the tripartite meeting is being billed as "the joint EU-US-Armenia high-level meeting in support of Armenia’s resilience". There has been intense speculation about the purpose of the meeting, and the likely outcomes. Azerbaijan has seen it as an attempt to encourage Armenia to take a more hardline position in its dealings with it, including in the current negotiations of an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty. Russia has been vocal in criticising the meeting, seeing it as yet another western attempt at snatching Armenia away from the Russian orbit. Other countries, such as Turkey and Iran have also been critical of the three way meeting. Behind the scenes there have been a lot of work going on in order to calm down neves, especially in Baku, and ahead of the meeting, both Secretary of State Blinken and President von der Leyen, spoke to Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev.
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News
4 April is International Landmine Awareness Day

4 April is International Landmine Awareness Day

On 8 December 2005, the UN General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This initiative continues to be supported by countries, organisations, and communities around the world. This year, the theme is “Protecting Lives. Building Peace.” — reminds us of the need to safeguard those at particular risk, including people living with disabilities, women, children and other vulnerable groups. This is a particularly poignant theme in the South Caucasus where the problem of landmines is acute, and the region is now identified as among the ones with the highest contamination of landmines in the world. In his message on the occasion of this year’s International Landmine Awareness Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Even after the fighting ends, these deadly devices can contaminate communities for decades to come, posing a daily and deadly danger to women, men and children alike, and blocking vital humanitarian and development assistance.” In his message, the UN Secretary-General urged Member States to ratify and fully implement the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. LINKS Europe Statement on International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2024 In a statement from its offices in The Hague, LINKS Europe Foundation, said that on a daily basis, people are becoming victims of landmines in different parts of the South Caucasus. International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action provides us with an opportunity to focus on this problem and ensure that it does not simply become just another daily inconvenience. We regret that as yet the international community has failed to recognise the enormity of the problem, and to respond accordingly.
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Killed whilst trying to help the people of Gaza avoid starvation

Killed whilst trying to help the people of Gaza avoid starvation

There has been widespread international condemnation after an Israeli attack killed seven humanitarian workers in Gaza. Three British citizens, John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, were among the seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers killed in Monday's strike. As well as the three Britons, Australian national Lalzawmi Frankcom, Polish national Damian Sobol, Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutahas and US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger, were also killed. Humanitarian aid to Gaza has been plunged into doubt after WCK, a key provider of aid to the Strip, suspended its operations in the region. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the deaths "appalled" him. Israel said the strike was "unintended". The British nationals, all part of WCK's security team, were travelling with a convoy that had just unloaded more than 100 tonnes of much-needed food aid brought from overseas, according to the charity. All three vehicles in the convoy were hit by an Israeli air strike while leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, south of Gaza City. US President Joe Biden said he was "outraged and heartbroken" by the WCK workers' deaths. He said Israel had "not done enough to protect civilians" in an emphatic shift from his previous call that Israel "must do more" to protect the lives of aid workers in Gaza.
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Too little, too late, but Arabs hope UNSC resolution dents US-Israel relations

Too little, too late, but Arabs hope UNSC resolution dents US-Israel relations

The situation in Palestine continues to cast a shadow over the Ramadan festivities in the Arabian Peninsula and across the Arab and Moslem worlds. On Monday (26 March), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) finally adopted resolution 2728, demanding an immediate ceasefire for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started on 10 March, leading to a “lasting sustainable ceasefire”. The resolution, which was put forward by the Council’s elected members, also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain. Resolution 2728 emphasises the need to expand humanitarian assistance and reinforce the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip. It also reiterates the Council’s demand to lift “all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale”. Arab and Muslim governments have generally welcomed the adoption of UNSC resolution 2728. But amongst a wary public in the GCC and beyond, there is widespread frustration and cynicism, and many consider it as being too little, too late. Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, speaking in New York yesterday, reflected this mood, saying it had taken “six months, over 100,000 Palestinians killed and maimed, 2 million displaced, and famine for this Council to finally demand an immediate ceasefire.” Palestinians have been killed “in their homes, in the streets, in hospitals and ambulances, in shelters, and even in tents,” he added. “This must come to an end now. There can be no justification for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.” Acceptance of any justification for such crimes would be a renunciation of humanity and destroy the rule of international law beyond repair, Mansour said.
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EU: "There can be no peace without universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all"

EU: "There can be no peace without universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all"

"There can be no peace without universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all." This was stated by the European Union in a statement on the occasion of World Water Day on 21 March. The statement issued by EU High Representative, Josep Borrell and the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, adds that "the health and prosperity of people and the planet rely on the stability of the global water cycle." Climate change, biodiversity loss, unsustainable management and pollution have an impact on water resources across the globe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 1 of out 4 people in the world still lack access to safely managed drinking water. Almost half of the global population lack access to safely managed sanitation. As water scarcity intensifies, increased competition for dwindling freshwater resources threatens stability among and within nations through conflicts, displacement, or migration. And water is also far too often used as a weapon of war. There can be no peace without universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation for all. This year's global theme for World Water Day focuses on leveraging “water for peace”. Water resource management and transboundary water cooperation are powerful tools for conflict prevention and peacekeeping. The European Union is working to improve access to water and/or a sanitation facility to 70 million individuals by 2030. It is also working to protect, conserve and restore water-related ecosystems. Building on the outcome of the 2023 UN Water Conference, the EU encourages joint efforts towards effective multilateral governance. Water, including the water-security nexus, needs to be a priority topic across multilateral processes. Water resilience is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to fight climate change.
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Balochi separatists attack Pakistani port of Gwadar, hub of Chinese Pakistani Economic Corridor

Balochi separatists attack Pakistani port of Gwadar, hub of Chinese Pakistani Economic Corridor

Baloch separatists armed with guns and bombs, on Wednesday (20 March) attacked the strategic port of Gwadar, key to the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the most prominent of several separatist groups in Balochistan, claimed responsibility for the audacious assault which once more highlights controversy around Chinese backed infrastructural projects on the Belt and Road project. Pakistani security forces later reported that they had killed eight Baloch Liberation Army militants who stormed a complex outside the strategic port of Gwadar. Armed with guns and bombs, the militants attacked the complex that houses offices of government departments, intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces. They detonated a number of bombs before opening fire, said Saeed Ahmed Umrani, a government commissioner. China has invested heavily in the mineral-rich southwestern province of Balochistan, including developing Gwadar, despite a decades-long separatist insurgency. The deep-water port in the Gulf of Oman near the strategically important Strat of Hormuz is key to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which also encompasses roads and energy projects and is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative. The Baloch Liberation Army, the most prominent of several separatist groups in Balochistan, has previously been involved in attacks on Pakistani and Chinese interests in the region and elsewhere. Chinese targets have also come under attack by other Baloch militant groups in Pakistan, who have been fighting for decades for a larger share in the regional wealth of mines and minerals that they say is being denied by central government in Islamabad. Belt and Road projects in Pakistan have been plagued by security concerns. In 2021, a bus carrying engineers to a construction site near a dam in northwestern Pakistan was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers.
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In Yerevan, Stoltenberg says that stability in the South Caucasus matters for NATO

In Yerevan, Stoltenberg says that stability in the South Caucasus matters for NATO

The Secretary General urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to reach an agreement to pave the way for the normalisation of relations and a durable peace. “This matters for Euro-Atlantic security as we face a more dangerous world,” he emphasised, reiterating that “NATO supports Armenian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and your peaceful aspirations.”  Mr Stoltenberg praised Armenia for its long-standing partnership and contributions to NATO operations, including increased troop numbers in KFOR’s peacekeeping mission. “For nearly 20 years, Armenia has been a key partner in NATO’s KFOR peacekeeping mission, helping to ensure a safe and secure environment for all communities in Kosovo,” he said. During his visit, the Secretary General discussed the progress in Armenia’s domestic reforms. He highlighted Armenia’s commitment to ensuring democratic control of its armed forces, including by participating in NATO’s building integrity programme. “You have also shown a real commitment to tackling corruption, strengthening your democratic institutions, and upholding the rule of law,” he stated. The Secretary General warned that “Russia’s war in Ukraine is a sobering reminder that we cannot take peace for granted… If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, there is a real risk that his aggression will not stop there and other authoritarian actors will be emboldened,” he said. Mr Stoltenberg called on all NATO partners to “do what they can to ensure Putin does not win his war of aggression.” “The situation on the battlefield remains difficult, but this is a reason to step up, not to scale back our support,” he said. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the three South Caucasus countries from 17-19 March for meetings with the leadership of the three countries and as an expression of support for their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.