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Conflict and Peace

Stories related to violent conflicts, diplomatic tensions, and conflict prevention, mediation and resolution.

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First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

In the historic settings of Prague Castle, leaders from across Europe gathered on Thursday for the first summit of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom With the dramatic consequences of Russia’s aggression war, EU leaders agreed during the European Council meeting in June 2022 to launch the European Political Community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent. The ambition is to bring leaders together on the European continent and to foster their cooperation on issues of common interest, revolving around peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. No formal written outcome of the European Political Community is envisaged. After the traditional family photo, the meeting kicked off with a round table discussion on peace and security in Europe. This story will be updated throughout the day.

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News
Vostok-2022 military exercises are meant to show that Russia is not isolated

Vostok-2022 military exercises are meant to show that Russia is not isolated

For the last few days Russia has been conducting military exercises in the Far East, with the participation of tens of thousands of soldiers, and multiple military hardware. But apart from the limited military value, Vostok-2022 are meant to show that Russia is far from being isolated in the international community, despite the sanctions and pressure of the west, following its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "it is to be noted that in recent military exercises, the Russian Ministry of Defence invited contingents from the unrecognised Russian protectorates of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This allowed a number of countries to refuse to participate, citing  the Abkhaz and South Ossetian presence as diplomatically problematic. This year the Russians decided to take no chances. Participation of countries such as India was of much more political importance than that of Moscow's South Caucasus proxies." "Regardless however, Vostok-2022 has exposed once again a weakness in the diplomatic war that Ukraine is waging against Russia with the support of western countries. The response in the Middle East, Africa and Asia against the blatant aggressive invasion has been lukewarm."
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The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

The world waits whilst Tehran and Washington haggle about nuclear deal

After years of tension and months of negotiations, it appeared in August that the process of reviving the Iran nuclear, known as JCPOA, was coming to a successful close. The EU negotiators, who had been leading the difficult discussions, made what they said was the "final offer", and early indications from both Tehran and Washington appeared to be positive. In Brussels, officials were cautiously optimistic that a deal was in the bag. But the process dragged on and reports in some Middle East media sources appear to suggest that it has now grinded again back to a halt.  The US said Iran’s latest response was “not constructive”.  
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Opinion
Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

"The peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have not been negatively affected by current tensions between Russia and the west.   Although Moscow criticized the EU’s mediation initiatives, it has not challenged the implementation of the agreements between the sides, including those reached in the EU-mediated platform", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "Against this backdrop, the two tracks of peace talks (i.e., the EU-mediated and the Russia-mediated) find a favourable environment to run without contradicting each other. This raises hope that the recent positive developments between Baku and Yerevan will advance in the upcoming months", he says.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Wednesday (31 August) hosted in Brussels the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and president Ilham Aliyev, for talks on the future of relations between the two countries and peace in the South Caucasus. Michel said that at the meeting it was agreed "to step up substantive work to advance on the peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and tasked the Foreign Ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts." President Michel underlined that "it is important to take the population along on both sides and prepare them for a long-term sustainable peace. Public messaging is critical in this regard – in a sensitive situation like this every word spoken in public is obviously listened to by the other side and weighed. The EU is ready to further step up its support towards a long-term sustainable peace. The EU will also continue to push for the advancement of economic development for the benefit of both countries and their populations." The three leaders agreed to meet again in this format by the end of November.
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The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The eighth and last leader of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev has died. He was 91 years old. Gorbachev is considered a giant political figure who initiated the processes that ended the Cold War that had dominated international relations in the second half of the 20th century. His attempt to reform the Soviet Union met strong resistance, including a failed attempted coup by the KGB and the Army, and finally led to both his political demise, and the dissolution of the USSR into fifteen independent states. Born on 2nd March 1931 to a peasant family in the Stavropol region in the south of the Russian SSR, Mikhail Gorbachev was the architect of the policies of glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) that tried to reform the Soviet system from within. Many Russians, including the current leadership in the Kremlin blame Gorbachev for the Soviet Union's collapse and see him as a direct cause of Russia's problems in the 21st century, but Gorbachev was only trying to reverse the rot that had set-in at all levels of the Soviet state. He persisted with his reform programme despite the risks. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and after leaving power spent his time as Head of the Gorbachev Foundation.
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Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, will host the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels tomorrow Wednesday (30 August) as part of efforts to help the two countries achieve lasting peace. This will be the third time Charles Michel will be welcoming President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia in less than nine months. The meeting is scheduled to start at 13.00 Brussels time. Ahead of tomorrow's meeting, Michel on Tuesday (30 August) held separate telephone conversations with the two leaders. Sources told commonspace.eu that last minute details regarding the meeting tomorrow were discussed to ensure the success of the meeting. Michel also touched on issues related with the bilateral agenda between the EU and the two countries.
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A bloody independence day for Ukraine

A bloody independence day for Ukraine

On Wednesday (24 August) Ukraine marked the 31st anniversary of its independence. The day also marked the end of the sixth month of the war, launched by Russia on 24 February. The Russians decided to mark the day with rocket strike on a Ukrainian train station that killed 22 people. Ukraine says five of the victims of the attack in the eastern town of Chaplyne burnt to death in a vehicle. An 11-year-old boy was also killed. This was not the first time that Russia targeted civilian train stations. In April, 50 people died in a similar attack.  In Ukraine, celebrations of independence day were subdued and the government had previously warned the Russians may use the occasion for a large scale provocation. However, around the world, there were gatherings of supporters in the streets to mark Ukraine's independence and world leaders also rallied to support the embattled nation to mark the occasion, with many countries announcing further assistance. A large rally in support of Ukraine was held in the Georgian capital. Tbilisi.