Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality
Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance. Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
patrickn97 Fri, 02/03/2023 - 09:33 Ukraine gears up for EU summit amid warnings of anniversary invasion
As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine approaches, Ukrainian officials are expressing concerns of a new major offensive following a recent large-scale Russian mobilisation. This comes as Kyiv prepares to host EU officials on Friday (3 February) for a summit on the embattled counry's progress towards EU membership. Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov estimates that Russia has mobilised up to 500,000 troops, despite official numbers claiming the mobilisation of 300,000 Russian troops. The estimates come after Ukrainian officials have announced high military activity on the Russian side of its border. Russia also celebrates its "Defender of the Fatherland Day" on 23 February, just one day before the one-year mark of the so-called "special military operation". 
patrickn97 Thu, 02/02/2023 - 11:22

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Ramstein summit: no decision on German tanks as countries make military aid pledges
No decision has been reached on whether Berlin will approve the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine at Ramstein Air Force base summit of global defence leaders in Germany on Friday (20 January). The BBC reports that the Polish Defence Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, remains optimistic that efforts to supply the tanks would be successful, saying, "Defence ministers of 15 countries met on the sidelines of today's conference and we talked about this topic...I am convinced that coalition building will end in success." Both leading up to and during the summit on Friday, numerous countries had made separate pledges of military equipment to Ukraine. The Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the United States are among those to have pledged further military aid to Ukraine in the past week.
patrickn97 Fri, 01/20/2023 - 17:14
Kazakhstan tightens entrance rules for citizens of EEU countries, including Russia

Kazakhstan has announced that they will tighten entrance rules for citizens of countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, including Russians.

A draft resolution adopted on 31 December, published on Tuesday (17 January), and which will become effective on 27 January will restrict citizens of countries of the Eurasian Economic Union to 90 days visa-free in Kazakhstan within any 180-day period.

patrickn97 Wed, 01/18/2023 - 13:25
Opinion: Armenia - India Relations: Time is right to develop a strategic partnership
The defeat in the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war shocked Armenia and Armenians all around the world, and destroyed many deeply entrenched perspectives on Armenia's geo-political realities, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for "Armenia should establish new partnerships that will allow Yerevan to decrease its economic and military development gap with Azerbaijan while adding a new layer of deterrence against Turkey in addition to the existing strategic alliance with Russia. In this context, India is the natural choice for Armenia", he argues. All the necessary ingredients are there to boost Armenia – India relations and bring them to the level of strategic partnership. There is an urgent need to institutionalize the ties, and the first step toward that direction could be establishing an Armenia - India high-level cooperation council. It should have annual sessions with the participation of Armenian and Indian Prime Ministers. At the same time, joint strategic planning groups should be established under the council to develop concrete projects in different spheres. 
dennis2020 Tue, 01/17/2023 - 10:20
Kazakhstan to withdraw from currency agreement with Russia

The government of Kazakhstan has announced that it intends to withdraw from a 1995 agreement on measures to ensure the mutual convertiblity and stabilisation of exchange rates of the Russian ruble and Kazakh tenge.

patrickn97 Tue, 01/10/2023 - 13:56
Third Joint Declaration on NATO-EU cooperation
On 10 January 2023, the EU and NATO signed a Joint Declaration in Brussels. They condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and reiterated their unwavering support to the country. The declaration also sets out a shared vision of how the EU and NATO will act together against common security threats. The EU and NATO will expand and deepen their cooperation on areas such as: the growing geostrategic competition resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure emerging and disruptive technologies space the security implications of climate change foreign information manipulation and interference. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met on Tuesday (10 January 2023) at NATO Headquarters to sign the third Joint Declaration on NATO-European Union cooperation. Speaking at a joint press conference, Mr Stoltenberg said: “we are determined to take the partnership between NATO and the European Union to the next level.” The Joint Declaration aims to further strengthen and expand the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, building on unprecedented progress in cooperation between the two organisations since previous declarations were signed in 2016 and 2018.
dennis2020 Tue, 01/10/2023 - 13:36
Blinken emphasises continued U.S. commitment to a two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability during phone call with new Israeli counterpart
Benyamin Netanyahu is back in office as prime minister of Israel, at the head of a coalition that has been described as the most right wing in the history of the Jewish state. Changes are expected in policy on a number of issues, including a hardening of foreign policy positions and support for new settlements in the Palestinian territories. The United States, whist remaining Israel's staunchest supporter, is concerned about what the new policies may lead to. In a short statement on Monday (2 January) , the State Department said that "Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to congratulate him on his appointment and underscore the United States’ abiding commitment to the U.S.-Israel partnership and to Israel’s security."  The statement added that Blinken "emphasized the continued U.S. commitment to a two-state solution and opposition to policies that endanger its viability."
dennis2020 Tue, 01/03/2023 - 05:56
Change of the guard at the UN Security Council

Japan on Sunday (1 January) assumed the Chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council for the month of January. This is the 12th time that Japan has chaired the Security Council, despite the fact that it is a non-permanent member. However, also on 1 January, Japan joined four other countries as non-permanent members of the Council for the next two years.

The other four new members are Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland.

dennis2020 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 08:27
Editor's choice
Sweden takes over rotating presidency of EU for the next six months

Sweden takes over rotating presidency of EU for the next six months

On 1 January 2023, Sweden took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Czechia. "Security, competitiveness, green and energy transitions, democratic values and the rule of law" are the priorities of the Presidency for the coming six months. During the first half of the year, Sweden will lead the work in the Council of the EU and represent all 27 Member States in negotiations with other EU institutions. The Swedish Presidency will chair approximately 2 000 meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, and approximately 150 informal meetings will be held in locations throughout Sweden. “Sweden is taking over the Presidency at a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges. A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on 14 December when he presented the priorities of the Swedish Presidency to the Riksdag
Editor's choice
Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

After the wave of diplomatic activities in late September – early October 2022, it seemed that the idea of signing a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of 2022 was more than a dream. However, November – December 2022 proved that pessimists were closer to reality. After Russia re-inserted itself in the negotiation process by organizing a new trilateral leaders' summit on October 31, 2022, and Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met in Washington on November 7, 2022; the peace process stalled. In the current situation, the external players involved in the negotiations and interested in preventing a resumption of hostilities should focus on preserving the fragile stability that emerged after September aggression by Azerbaijan. In this context, the resumption of the Brussels format of negotiations is of utmost importance. Otherwise, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Armenia – Azerbaijan relations risk becoming another pawn in Russia – US confrontation, with negative implications for all sides.