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Klaar speaks of substantive talks after brief visit to Armenia, but gives no details

The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, described his meeting in Armenia on 8 December as substantive, but gave no details. Klaar was in Yerevan for less than twenty-four hours, during which he met prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and other officials.

This morning Klaar tweeted

dennis2020 Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:43 UAE and Saudi Arabia instrumental in prisoner exchange between US and Russia
The governments of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday a joint role in facilitating the prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia, leading to the release of US basketball star Brittney Griner after nearly nine months in detention.  Griner, 32, who was arrested in Russia in February on drug charges, and Viktor Bout, 55, who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison, were exchanged at an airport in Abu Dhabi. In a statement, the UAE and Saudi foreign affairs ministries said the mediation was led by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.  "The success of the mediation efforts was a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship between their two countries and the United States of America and the Russian Federation," the statement read.  The statement confirmed that following her release by Russia, Abu Dhabi received on Thursday Griner by private plane from Moscow. Another plane arrived from the United States to the UAE carrying Russian citizen Victor Bout, an arms dealer convicted in the United States. Officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia were present at the airbase. The source confirmed that Abu Dhabi and Riyadh facilitated the "details of the exchange," but stressed that the negotiations on the release were strictly handled by Moscow and Washington. US President Joe Biden thanked the UAE on Thursday for helping Griner return home from Russia.  “I also want to the thank the UAE for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return, cause that’s where she landed,” the US president said. 
dennis2020 Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:19

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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.
patrickn97 Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
Klaar speaks of substantive talks after brief visit to Armenia, but gives no details

The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, described his meeting in Armenia on 8 December as substantive, but gave no details. Klaar was in Yerevan for less than twenty-four hours, during which he met prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and other officials.

This morning Klaar tweeted

dennis2020 Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:43
UAE and Saudi Arabia instrumental in prisoner exchange between US and Russia
The governments of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday a joint role in facilitating the prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia, leading to the release of US basketball star Brittney Griner after nearly nine months in detention.  Griner, 32, who was arrested in Russia in February on drug charges, and Viktor Bout, 55, who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison, were exchanged at an airport in Abu Dhabi. In a statement, the UAE and Saudi foreign affairs ministries said the mediation was led by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.  "The success of the mediation efforts was a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship between their two countries and the United States of America and the Russian Federation," the statement read.  The statement confirmed that following her release by Russia, Abu Dhabi received on Thursday Griner by private plane from Moscow. Another plane arrived from the United States to the UAE carrying Russian citizen Victor Bout, an arms dealer convicted in the United States. Officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia were present at the airbase. The source confirmed that Abu Dhabi and Riyadh facilitated the "details of the exchange," but stressed that the negotiations on the release were strictly handled by Moscow and Washington. US President Joe Biden thanked the UAE on Thursday for helping Griner return home from Russia.  “I also want to the thank the UAE for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return, cause that’s where she landed,” the US president said. 
dennis2020 Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:19
Xi in Saudi Arabia as China woos Gulf Arabs
China's president Xi Jinping on Wednesday (7 December) starts a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia where he will meet Saudi and other Arab leaders in a series of summits. Three summits will take place during his trip: the Saudi-Chinese Summit, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development. The participants will include more than 30 leaders and officials, highlighting the importance of the gatherings and their high regional and international profile, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Xi’s visit reflects the desire of the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and China to strengthen the bilateral relationship, enhance their strategic partnership and realize the political and economic potential it offers to serve their common interests, the SPA added. Reporting the visit, the New York Times said the trip sends a message that Beijing’s clout in the region is growing at a time when U.S. officials say that they want to make the Middle East less of a priority, focusing diplomatic and military resources on Asia and Europe.
dennis2020 Wed, 12/07/2022 - 05:30
Türkiye warned Greece to stop militarizing the Aegean islands
Türkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has warned Greece on Tuesday (6 December) to stop militarizing the Aegean islands, or Ankara “will take the necessary steps on the ground.” He said Türkiye had sent a letter to the United Nations in July 2021 laying out its arguments against Athens, which he said had violated the agreements of Lausanne and Paris. Greece denied these accusations, saying it has not provoked its neighbour nor amassed a large landing fleet on its shores.
Maximiliaan va… Tue, 12/06/2022 - 19:23
Hungary vetoes €18 billion aid package for Ukraine, EU seeks alternative solution

The Hungarian government has blocked an €18 billion aid package for Ukraine, forcing the European Commission and other EU countries to seek an alternative solution. The Commission is looking into providing an alternative mechanism for channeling funds to Ukraine in January, but this will require national budgetary guarantees which may take some time.

Maximiliaan va… Tue, 12/06/2022 - 16:23
Monday Commentary: NATO’s new sense of purpose well reflected during last week’s Bucharest Ministerial Meeting
The Foreign ministers of NATO member states met in Bucharest on Tuesday and Wednesday,  (29 – 30 November), at a time when, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe faces one of the most serious security challenges since the alliance came into being in 1949. It was not NATO that triggered the Ukraine crisis. Indeed NATO, in its’ past quest not to alienate Russia, is sometimes accused of being overcautious in its relations with Ukraine prior to February. The Russian invasion has tested the alliance in many ways – the political will and unity of the member states; the capability of the alliance to support an ally who is not a member through a hybrid response; and the speed with which it could bolster its military capability on its Eastern flank to reassure member states. So far one can say that NATO has performed well, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu. This response however needs to be sustained. NATO comes out from the Bucharest Ministerial meeting strengthened and resolute. It is an alliance that is on the move as it responds to new challenges. But NATO also remains rooted in its principles. As the foreign ministers declared in their final statement, NATO is a defensive alliance. “We will continue to strive for peace, security and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area”, they declared.
dennis2020 Mon, 12/05/2022 - 04:54
Letter-bombs and packages containing animal remains sent to Ukrainian diplomats

Seventeen letters or packages containing animal remains have been sent to Ukrainian diplomats located in various embassies or missions around the world. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this in an interview with CNN.

On Wednesday (30 November), a letter bomb detonated at an embassy in Spain, injuring a security guard. Subsequently, similar packages with animal parts, like cow eyes, were sent to the Ukrainian embassy in the Netherlands as well as other countries, such as Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Italy and Austria.

Maximiliaan va… Sun, 12/04/2022 - 11:01
Borrell: Russia is waging total war against Ukraine; we must respond with total support
On Thursday (1 December) EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, addressed the annual Ministerial Council of the OSCE, which this year is meeting in Poland. Speaking about the conflict in Ukraine, Borell said that Russia was waging total war against Ukraine, and this requires total support for Ukraine in response. Borrell said that Russia has brought the war back in Europe. Russia is now turning this into a purely punitive campaign, trying to inflict as much pain as possible on Ukrainian citizens, using winter as a weapon, putting them into the darkness and the cold. The Russian army is deliberately targeting energy and water infrastructure on which normal Ukrainian citizens depend
dennis2020 Fri, 12/02/2022 - 08:56