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Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

On May 22, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Brussels with the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the peace process. It is worth noting that since the beginning of this year, the representatives of the two South Caucasian republics have met exclusively via the mediation of the EU, while the only Russia-mediated meeting – that of the foreign ministers held on May 12 –  took place on the sidelines of another major event and brought about no novelty in the negotiations. The Brussels summit, however, delivered some very important outcomes which, if implemented, will constitute a critical breakthrough in the peace process. The quick implementation of some of the issues agreed by president Aliyev and prime minister Pashinyan at their meeting in Brussels, can be described as truly historic, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "But the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time, and necessitate an agreement not only between Baku and Yerevan, but also between Moscow and Brussels", he adds.

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Von der Leyen says Russia is the most  direct threat to the international order

Von der Leyen says Russia is the most direct threat to the international order

Russia “is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its worrying pact with China”, European Commission President, Urusula von der Leyen, said in Tokyo on Thursday (12 May) after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida along with European Council President Charles Michel. The two are in Tokyo for an annual EU-Japan summit that comes with much of the international community rallying to pressure Moscow over the Ukraine war, with concern also growing about China’s role. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not just a matter for Europe, but it shakes the core of the international order including Asia. This must not be tolerated,” said Kishida, whose government has joined tough sanctions on Moscow, including on energy. “Our cooperation in Ukraine is critical in Europe, but it’s also important in the Indo-Pacific and we also want to deepen our consultation on a more assertive China,” said Michel.
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Opinion
Opinion: The Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process proceeds despite challenges

Opinion: The Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process proceeds despite challenges

The Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process is passing through a critical stage which will determine the future of the relations between the two countries: Either they will now agree on normalization of relations and put an end to their hostilities, or they will remain stuck in these disputes for years to come. Hopefully, peace efforts will prevail over the agendas of nationalist groups and their external allies, writes Dr Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed
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Opinion
Opinion: China expands its military co-operation with Iran as it emerges as the main counterweight to US influence on the Eurasian landmass

Opinion: China expands its military co-operation with Iran as it emerges as the main counterweight to US influence on the Eurasian landmass

The visit last week of China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe to Tehran marked a significant moment in the development of Chinese-Iranian military co-operation. Iran is becoming an increasingly important factor in Russia and China's efforts to create a partnership on the Eurasian landmass which can balance the US influence, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
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West Africa's military governments play for time in the face of potential sanctions

West Africa's military governments play for time in the face of potential sanctions

Burkina Faso and Guinea have requested additional time to present a plan to hand back power to civilians and reinstate democratic rule following an ultimatum by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had set a deadline for Monday, 25 April. In Conakry as in Ouagadougou, where the military recently seized power by force, the transitional authorities are asking for more time to pursue consultations, according to an ECOWAS communiqué issued on 27 April. The potential impact of these sanctions on poor, landlocked countries has caused great concern, but also widespread resentment, beyond Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, against regional organisations.
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Analysis
Macron gets a second chance to push for a new type of French partnership with Africa

Macron gets a second chance to push for a new type of French partnership with Africa

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron as President of the French Republic was the occasion for many congratulations from African heads of state with most leaders hailing the French president's "brilliant" election. Yet on the continent, not everyone is so enthusiastic, and speculation is high how France’s Africa policy will play out during Macron’s second term. The silence of Bamako, Conakry and Ouagadougou reflects the challenges of Emmanuel Macron's African policy in the years to come. Macron has put a great deal of energy into opening a new chapter in the relationship between France and Africa, but the results have been below expectations. A sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship is very important in these new, uncertain times. Whether it is through the gas alternative proposed by some North African countries, or the emergence of new partnerships in the Sahel and in English-speaking Africa, France will have to play a prominent role and has much to gain from being close with Africa. 
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NATO membership can be arranged quickly once Finland and Sweden submit application

NATO membership can be arranged quickly once Finland and Sweden submit application

The NATO membership of Finland and Sweden will be arranged quickly if they apply to join the Western military alliance. There will also be 'interim measures' until the two countries become full members of the organisation. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said this on Thursday (28 April) at a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. "If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed and I expect the process to go quickly".Sweden and Finland announced two weeks ago that they are considering membership in NATO. The Swedish government may want to submit a formal application as early as the end of June. The two countries have had a neutral status for various historical reasons. Since the war in Ukraine, their position on neutrality has changed.
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Opinion
Russia’s war against Ukraine: where do we stand and what can the future bring?

Russia’s war against Ukraine: where do we stand and what can the future bring?

"Two months into the war against Ukraine there is no end in sight and Russia’s most recent actions even point to an intensification of the fight. The Russian leadership must stop the aggression and reconsider the unacceptable path it has chosen: for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the wider world", says Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for foreign and security policy in this article which first appeared on his blog on the website of the European External Action Service on 26 April 2022. In the article the head of the EU diplomacy says that "Defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion is rejecting the law of the jungle, the notion that “might makes right”. Being “neutral” is a false concept here. One country has invaded another one. Putting them on the same footing fails to differentiate between the attacker and the attacked. Such “neutrality” may respond, of course, to a variety of reasons, from hidden alignment to fear of reprisals, but it becomes in practice support to Russia and its war of aggression."