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Conflict and Peace

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

Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Ahead of November, Armenia and Azerbaijan juggle for their geopolitical position

Opinion: Ahead of November, Armenia and Azerbaijan juggle for their geopolitical position

In the lead-up to this year's NATO Summit in Washington D.C., it was uncertain whether Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov would meet. However, a last-minute announcement confirmed that they would, albeit not in a bilateral format, but with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Expectations were low, given disagreements over Azerbaijani demands for Armenia to change its constitution and the United States now apparently pushing its own vision for unblocking trade and communication in the region. Nonetheless, Blinken again emphasised that the two were close to reaching a deal. The foreign ministers issued identical scant three-paragraph statements which at least referred to a “historic agreement.”

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Editor's choice
News
European countries accused of complicity after 11 bodies were recovered from the Mediterranean off Libya

European countries accused of complicity after 11 bodies were recovered from the Mediterranean off Libya

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, has reported the recovery of 11 bodies and the rescue of dozens of people off the coast of Libya. The organisation criticised the migration policies of Libya and European countries. In a statement on Friday (7 June), MSF said its Geo Barents rescue ship had recovered the bodies after a search lasting more than nine hours. The operation was launched after an alert from the German NGO Sea-Watch, which also assists refugees and migrants. "Although the cause of this tragedy remains unknown, it is clear that people will continue to undertake dangerous journeys in their desperate search for safety. Europe must create safe and legal routes for them," MSF said in a post on X. "This catastrophe must end!" 
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News
UN agency UNRWA urgently suspends aid to Rafah

UN agency UNRWA urgently suspends aid to Rafah

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has suspended its operations in Rafah. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the organisation that provides aid to Palestinian refugees, conveyed this information on Saturday evening (1 June) via X. 
Editor's choice
Editorial
Approaching the end game for Armenia-Azerbaijan peace

Approaching the end game for Armenia-Azerbaijan peace

Nikol Pashinyan has taken Armenia on a long journey, and brought it close to peace with Azerbaijan. Few if any believed that he could achieve what has been done so far. It is true that Azerbaijani military superiority, the victory in 2020, and the puzzling events of September 2023, which saw the overnight collapse of the Armenian political project in Nagorno-Karabakh and the subsequent exodus of the entire Armenian population from the territory, in many ways pre-determined what is about to follow. But given the entrenched nationalist positions and hard-line narratives that have traditionally characterised Armenia’s political thinking, even these developments were not enough to guarantee peace. The last part of the journey had to be done in the minds of Armenians, and Pashinyan set about doing this with conviction and determination, challenging the narrative of a historical Armenia, that is only the imagination of the nationalist elites and advocating instead, "a real" Armenia with fixed border.
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News
G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

The G7 will explore ways to use future revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G7 and its allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets. "We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine," the draft statement said. G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how best to use these assets, which include major currencies and government bonds held mainly in European vaults. The United States (US) has been urging its G7 partners - Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to support a loan that could provide Kyiv with up to $50 billion in the near term. The cautious language of the statement, lacking figures or specifics, underlines the many legal and technical issues that would need to be resolved before such a loan could be issued. A G7 source indicated that there would be no significant changes to the statement before the final version is released later on Saturday (25 May).
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News
More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

Thousands of Ukrainian prisoners have expressed interest in a new initiative that offers them the opportunity to exchange their prison sentence for military service. According to Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska, more than 3,000 prisoners have already signed up to contribute to strengthening Ukraine's armed forces. "This response is in line with our expectations when introducing this legislation," Vysotska stated. Furthermore, she noted that up to 20,000 prisoners could potentially be eligible to participate in the programme, with approximately 4,500 having expressed interest thus far. It is important to stress that prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, other sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this scheme. This development coincides with Ukraine's urgent need for additional troops in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Russia has similarly implemented analogous arrangements for prisoners of war in the context of this conflict.
Editor's choice
News
More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

Thousands of Ukrainian prisoners have expressed interest in a new initiative that offers them the opportunity to exchange their prison sentence for military service. According to Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska, more than 3,000 prisoners have already signed up to contribute to strengthening Ukraine's armed forces. "This response is in line with our expectations when introducing this legislation," Vysotska stated. Furthermore, she noted that up to 20,000 prisoners could potentially be eligible to participate in the programme, with approximately 4,500 having expressed interest thus far. It is important to stress that prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, other sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this scheme. This development coincides with Ukraine's urgent need for additional troops in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Russia has similarly implemented analogous arrangements for prisoners of war in the context of this conflict.