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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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EU and US leaders say they are "bound together by the most dynamic relationship on earth"

EU and US leaders say they are "bound together by the most dynamic relationship on earth"

A summit between the US and the EU has re-affirmed the resilience of the transatlantic relationship at a time of increased global turmoil. On Friday (20 October), EU leaders, notably the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, met with US President, Joe Biden, and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in Washington DC. The summit was an opportunity to review the close transatlantic partnership and areas of cooperation within the partnership. At the end of the summit the leaders adopted a joint statement, which includes a roadmap to underpin and further strengthen the relationship for years to come. A statement issued at the end of the meeting said: Representing nearly 800 million citizens, united by our values and bound together by the most dynamic relationship on earth, we reaffirm our commitment to a transatlantic partnership that delivers for all our people. The statement added that the EU and the US are close and like-minded partners that share a strong bond and a commitment to a rules-based international order and effective multilateralism. The summit also discussed global issues, including Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Indo-Pacific Region. On the Caucasus, the summit statement said that the EU and the US remain fully committed to supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and its European perspective.  They also said that they remain committed to advancing a lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on mutual recognition of sovereignty, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity. We urge Azerbaijan to ensure the rights and security of those who remain in Nagorno-Karabakh as well as for those who wish to return to their homes. We also call for all parties to adhere to the principle of non-use of force and threat of use of force.
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Gutteres insists two-state solution is only way forward in the Middle East

Gutteres insists two-state solution is only way forward in the Middle East

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, on Monday, 9 October, made a passionate call for a return to negotiations between the sides in the Middle East, and said that "only a negotiated peace that fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike – the long-held vision of a two-State solution, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements – can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region." Gutteres was speaking as the most serious crisis in the middle East in half a century unfolded following the Saturday morning raids by Hamas militants on towns and settlements in the south of Israel. Whilst unequivocally condemning the attacks, Gutteres said that "this most recent violence does not come in a vacuum. The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year long occupation and no political end in sight." "It’s time to end this vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred and polarization", the UN Secretary General said in the press briefing, which he held in New York following a meeting with other senior UN officials. Clearly, the UN sees the crisis as one of the most significant in recent years and is brazing itself for a humanitarian catastrophy as Israel launches a large scale punitive action in Gaza with the aim of eradicating completely Hamas, and its political and military capacity. In his statement, Gutteres said that "Civilians must be respected and protected at all times".
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Biggest crisis in the Middle East for half a century

Biggest crisis in the Middle East for half a century

The biggest crisis in the Middle East, since the October War in 1973, unfolded yesterday as hundreds of Palestinian fighters broke out of the Gaza Strip, and attacked Israeli towns and settlements nearby. In what is being described as an audacious operation, which was undetected by the Israelis despite it needing months of meticulous preparations and involving large numbers of people, it is reported that three hundred Israelis died and hundreds more were injured. The Palestinian fighters also took dozens of Israeli prisoners. Israeli has unleashed a punitive operation against the Gaza Strip, with rocket raids hitting the densely populated area which is the home of more than three million Palestinians, in what is sometimes described as "the biggest prison in the world".  International Community scrambles to react The international community is scrambling to deal with the situations, and possible fall-out. There has been largely condemnation of the Palestinian attack, especially from the US and Europe, whilst other countries, such as Turkey, called for restraint. In the neighbouring Arab countries the events are being watched closely. Official statements from Arab capitals generally condemned the violence, but in the proverbial "Arab street" the mood is more sympathetic to the Palestinian fighters. The United Nations Security Council will meet Sunday (8 October) in New York. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland is expected to brief the members of the Council. The meeting was called by Malta, but later the United Arab Emirates also joined the call. According to the authoritative publication "Security Council Report", the meeting was initially requested in the private meeting format but was later changed to consultations after several members expressed a preference for the latter format. While both formats are closed to the public, consultations differ from a private meeting in that it is not a formal meeting of the Security Council. In addition, only Council members can participate in consultations, whereas member states whose interests are directly affected may be invited to participate in a private meeting in accordance with rule 37 and rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
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Biden meets C5 leaders to confirm commitment for Central Asian countries security and prosperity

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. 
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Biden to meet Central Asian leaders in the first C5+1 presidential summit

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.
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India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) hails a new era in global connectivity

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) hails a new era in global connectivity

India, the European Union, the United States and Saudi Arabia announced a mega deal to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) at an event on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Saturday. The leaders of India, Italy, France, Germany, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, the European Union and Saudi Arabia signed the memorandum of understanding. While announcing the corridor at the G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that IMEC will usher in a new chapter in global connectivity and sustainable development. He also stated that the corridor would act as a "major medium of economic integration between India, West Asia, and Europe”. The project will be developed under the G7 nations’ Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) initiative. PGII aims to bridge the infrastructure gap in developing countries. The new IMEC project is being seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road initiative. While the cost of the project has not been officially announced, reports indicated that the countries might spend around $20 billion on developing the corridor. The new project will consist of two corridors. The east corridor will connect India with Gulf countries and the northern corridor will connect Arabian Gulf with Europe.  The corridors will consist of a ship-to-rail transit network to facilitate cost-effective transport routes for the countries. The memorandum of understanding read,” It will enable goods and services to transit to, from, and between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe.” The countries also plan to lay down a cable network for electricity and digital connectivity along with pipes for clean hydrogen export. EU President Ursula von der Leyen said that IMEC will be the most direct connection between the countries and it is expected to cut travel time by 40 per cent. 
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G20 summit in Delhi turns into India's "coming of age" party as country starts the process of adopting a name-change

G20 summit in Delhi turns into India's "coming of age" party as country starts the process of adopting a name-change

The G20 summit opened in India's capital New Delhi on Saturday (9 September) with a speech by prime minister Narendra Modi during which he welcomed the African Union as the 21st member of the grouping, whose name will presumably now change to G21. It seems also that it is not the only name that is changing. The country name-plate in front of Modi during his speech did not say India, but Bharat. Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that the G20 summit had become a coming of age party for India, as it projects increasing confidence and assertiveness in the international arena. Having recently celebrated the success of having a successful lunar mission, the summit was an opportunity to come down to earth with a bang. The decision of prime minister Modi to speak as the leader of Bharat was a symbolic gesture marking a break between the country and its long and often painful colonial era past. By securing the admittance of the African Union in the G20, India also consolidated its role as one of the leaders of the Global South - a role India actively played in the 1950s and 1960s under prime ministers Nehru and Gandhi, but one which in recent years appeared to take back stage to more immediate urgent issues. For the G20, India has thrown a lavish party. But guests were left under no illusion that this was not also a Modi celebration. The Indian prime minister faces a tough election next year, and appearing as the leader amongst global statesman helps the prime minister's image. A reminder perhaps that in India these things matter, because India is a democracy, and in the end it is the people that have the final word. One reason perhaps why two G20 leaders were conspicuously absent: President Xi of China, and President Putin of Russia. Their absence was noted, although not necessarily missed.
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September's G20 summit in India will meet under the slogan "One Earth, One Family, One Future."

September's G20 summit in India will meet under the slogan "One Earth, One Family, One Future."

India will underline the need for further diversity, the voice of the Global South as well as a human-centric approach to globalism as the country gears up for the G-20 leader’s meeting on 9 and 10 September in New Delhi under the motto "One Earth, One Family, One Future." India, as a developing country, has placed utmost importance on inclusivity for its G-20 presidency and has within this scope invited several non-G-20 members for the range of meetings held during the country’s term. The 32 countries, in addition to the G-20 members and guest countries, are present in the programs. The G-20 includes the European Union and the major economies of all continents, including the U.S., China, Russia and Germany. The Indian Presidency has drawn out six focus points, namely inclusive and resilient growth, progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), green development and life, technological transformation and digital public infrastructure, reforming multilateral institutions as well as women-led development.  India announced that it made a proposal for the African Union to be a permanent member of the G-20. The world’s economic gravity center has shifted dramatically in the past years. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the share of emerging markets in global trade increased from 32% to 46% between 200 and 2019, while their share of receiving global foreign direct investment (FDI) rose from 15% to 46% and most of the world’s GDP growth occurs in those emerging markets.  India, the most populous country in the world, for its part, is aiming to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2027. In 2014 it was the 10th largest, while today it ranks fifth.