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International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

EU member states and other countries in the international community have issued a statement on the situation around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and have called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the territory of the plant. In a statement the 42 countries called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorised personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions. This will also enable the IAEA to carry out its verification pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations under safe and secure conditions and in a timely manner. The statement said that the international community will hold Russia accountable for its aggression, and Russia must bear full responsibility for its unlawful actions in Ukraine.
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Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkish representatives will meet counterparts from Sweden and Finland on 26 August in an effort to remove the final stumbling blocks for the accession of the two Scandinavian countries into NATO. Turkey is one of seven out of thirty NATO countries still to ratify the decision taken at the last NATO summit to admit Sweden and Finland into the alliance. Speaking at a Conference for Turkish Ambassadors across the world, being held this week in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland are yet to deliver their commitments arising from the trilateral memorandum signed at the NATO summit in Madrid in June and they haven't taken any solid steps on Turkey's requests on extradition of terrorists yet. He described the remarks by Swedish and Finnish authorities on their promises as "well intentioned," and reiterated Turkey's desire to see concrete steps from the two countries.

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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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International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

EU member states and other countries in the international community have issued a statement on the situation around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and have called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the territory of the plant. In a statement the 42 countries called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorised personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions. This will also enable the IAEA to carry out its verification pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations under safe and secure conditions and in a timely manner. The statement said that the international community will hold Russia accountable for its aggression, and Russia must bear full responsibility for its unlawful actions in Ukraine.
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News
Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkish representatives will meet counterparts from Sweden and Finland on 26 August in an effort to remove the final stumbling blocks for the accession of the two Scandinavian countries into NATO. Turkey is one of seven out of thirty NATO countries still to ratify the decision taken at the last NATO summit to admit Sweden and Finland into the alliance. Speaking at a Conference for Turkish Ambassadors across the world, being held this week in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland are yet to deliver their commitments arising from the trilateral memorandum signed at the NATO summit in Madrid in June and they haven't taken any solid steps on Turkey's requests on extradition of terrorists yet. He described the remarks by Swedish and Finnish authorities on their promises as "well intentioned," and reiterated Turkey's desire to see concrete steps from the two countries.
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Decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal

Decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal

After years of uncertainty and negotiations, it is finally decision time for the future of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On Monday (8 August), the European Union submitted a “final text” at talks to salvage the 2015 deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Tehran said it was reviewing the proposals. Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia, as well as the United States indirectly, resumed talks on Thursday in Vienna, months after they had stalled. The European Union has submitted a “final text,” a European official said on Monday. “We worked for four days and today the text is on the table,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “The negotiation is finished, it’s the final text... and it will not be renegotiated.” “Now the ball is in the court of the capitals and we will see what happens,” the European official added. AFP news agency quoted European diplomats as saying that the final draft tabled is non-negotiable, and “stretches us all to the limits of our flexibility.”  According to The Wall Street Journal correspondent Laurence Norman, a senior EU official said that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will send messages to participating states setting out the next steps. The EU has been co-ordinating the efforts to revive the JCPOA, which involved mediating indirect talks between Iran and the United States.
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Opinion
Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group had the mandate to facilitate a resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their failure to do so and the fact that there is no agreement between the parties in the conflict on its future role in the changed situation after the 2020 war leaves this process without any legitimacy, argues Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "The calls of the French and American representatives to give a second chance to the Minsk Group are perceived in Baku as more of geopolitical nature rather than as an honest attempt to contribute to the peace efforts", he argues.
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Putin-Erdogan talks in Sochi

Putin-Erdogan talks in Sochi

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president, Recip Tayip Erdogan had four hours of talks in Sochi on Friday (5 August) to discuss a number of pressing issues, including Syria and Ukraine. In the joint statement released after the meeting the two presidents pointed out the importance of sincere, frank and trust-based relations between Turkey and Russia for the establishment of regional and international stability. "The two leaders confirmed that constructive relations between the two countries played a role in reaching the Istanbul Agreement on the transport of grain and food from Ukraine."   In the joint statement, Russia's implementation in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Istanbul Agreement, including the uninterrupted export of raw materials for the production of grain, fertilizer and fertilizer was underlined.. "The leaders confirmed their determination to act in solidarity and coordination in the fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria."  The two presidents agreed to boost political and economic cooperation including in energy and trade.
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G7 warn China over Taiwan

G7 warn China over Taiwan

The G7 countries have called on China not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the Taiwan Strait and beyond, and to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means. In a statement, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, reaffirmed their shared commitment to maintaining the rules-based international order, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and beyond. The statement added: We are concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation. There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally. The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.
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Pelosi vows support for Taiwan during controversial visit

Pelosi vows support for Taiwan during controversial visit

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has vowed continued American support for Taiwan during a controversial visit to the Island which has been condemned by China. China considers Taiwan as a renegade province, and the United States, in line with the rest of the international community, has since the 1970s maintained only full diplomatic relations with Beijing, even though it has an informal diplomatic presence on the Island, and maintains with it strong military co-operation. Pelosi, the third highest ranking US official, after the President and the Vice President, made the visit to Taiwan despite concerns from the White House and the US military and security establishment. Speaking at the presidential palace in Taipei, Pelosi said: "We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship. Now, more than ever, America's solidarity with Taiwan is crucial. And that is the message we are bringing here today." During the meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen, Pelosi was presented with "The Order of Propitious Clouds", which is a Taiwanese civilian honour. Presenting Pelosi with the Special Grand Cordon, which is the award's top rank, President Tsai said she was awarding it to Pelosi to thank the US for its support.
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Kosovo-Serbia tensions defused after a flurry of overnight diplomatic activity

Kosovo-Serbia tensions defused after a flurry of overnight diplomatic activity

A flurry of diplomatic activity on Sunday night helped defuse tensions between Kosovo and Serbia which saw both sides mobilising military forces. The crisis revolved around a decision of the government of Kosovo that would introduce new rules requiring Serbs in Kosovo to swap their Serbian-issued car number plates for Kosovan-issued ones. The rules were due to come into force at midnight on Monday. But on Sunday ethnic Serbs in the north barricaded roads and armed men fired shots in protest. The rules' implementation has now been delayed for a month following consultations with the US and EU. NATO described the situation as "tense" as hundreds of ethnic-Serbs parked trucks, tankers and other vehicles near two key border crossings with Serbia in protest over the new rules, forcing the police to close the two crossings. The mission led by the alliance in Kosovo, KFOR, said it was "prepared to intervene if stability is jeopardised, in accordance with its mandate, coming from UNSC resolution 1244 of 1999."