The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, arrived in Moscow today (20 July) on the invitation of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. This is Aliyev’s second working visit to Russia this year – the first, on 11 January with the Armenian prime minister – and comes amidst clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "It is not clear what is the reason for the latest Azerbaijani diplomatic demarche, but with the Russians now exercising de facto control over Nagorno-Karabakh with unfettered interaction with the whole of society, the latest Azerbaijani move appears to serve no purpose other than to consolidate and monopolise the Russian control over the territory."
In a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian President, the European Council President Charles Michel expressed the EU's continued support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Michel reiterated his call on Russia to respect the OSCE principles and commitments on the transparency of military movements.
Fighting between pro-government forces and Houthi fighters intensified over the weekend across multiple fronts in the governorate of Marib in Yemen. Reports indicate that around 70 have been killed in the past few days. Officials losses and the changes in the frontlines are difficult to determine as figures and news are often concealed.
Georgia today marks the 32nd anniversary of the events of 9 April 1989 when Soviet troops entered Tbilisi to crush peaceful pro-independence demonstrations, attacking the crowd and leaving at least twenty people dead. Most of the victims were women, and the youngest among the victims were 16 years old. The date is considered a watershed moment in Georgian and Soviet history. After 9 April 1989 the position of the Communist Party in Georgia became untenable and the relationship with Moscow got spoilt beyond repair.
In the South Caucasus, the problem of landmines and other unexploded remnants of war remains a serious issue across the region. Over the last months, since the end of the 44-day Karabakh War, the problem has become more acute as efforts are made to rehabilitate territories that were until recently in the conflict zone. Most of these territories are heavily mined. Problems also remain in other areas on both the Armenian and the Azerbaijani sides of the line of contact and the international border.
The new United States Administration has finally clarified its position on the conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Sahrawi movement, the Polisario Front. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week emphasised US support for political negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario over the future of the territory.
Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement-North Sector (SPLM-N) on Sunday (28 March) signed a declaration of principles envisaging the establishment of a secular state. The document calls for the respect of diversity, for forming a unified army, for the redistribution of wealth and power, and for the adoption of a federal system.
The Houthis have scaled up their attacks on Saudi locations since 23 March when Saudi Arabia announced a plan to end the war in Yemen. The Yemeni government, which accepted the plan, says that the Houthi escalation threatens to ruin hopes to end the war in Yemen.