Briefing: intensive diplomatic efforts around the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process
Intense diplomatic efforts over the last month are a good reflection of a sustained determination on the part of Armenia and Azerbaijan to bring their decades-old conflict to an end, and sign a peace agreement, writes Meetings between president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia were held in Brussels on 15 May, with the mediation of EU Council president Charles Michel. The three leaders met again on 1 June in Chisinau, this time also with the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Aliyev and Pashinyan met, together with president Putin of Russia, in Moscow on 25 May. And on 4 June the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan were in Ankara for the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new term in office, where they also met informally. The next formal meeting is now set to be held in July in Brussels. A lot is also going on behind the scenes with European and American envoys travelling in the region.
patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 11:21 EU interior ministers reach "historic" agreement on migration, but significant opposition remains
Interior ministers from the European Union's 27 member states reached a deal on the bloc's migration policy yesterday (8 June) after some 12 hours of negotiations at a meeting in Luxembourg. The agreement outlines how responsibility for looking after migrants and refugees who arrive in the EU without authorisation is shared out among member states, a topic which has been the source of much disagreement since 2015, when well over 1 million migrants and refugees entered the EU, many of them fleeing the war in Syria. Under the deal agreed yesterday and set to be finalised ahead of a 2024 EU election, each country would be responsible for a set number of people, but would not necessarily have to take them in. Countries unwilling to receive irregular migrants and refugees arriving ad hoc to the EU would be able to help their hosting peers through cash - around 20,000 euros per person - equipment or personnel, reports Reuters. The agreement would introduce a new expedited border procedure for those deemed unlikely to win asylum to prevent them from lingering inside the bloc for years.
patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 10:37

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President Xi hosts first ever China-Central Asia summit in Xi'an
The President of China Xi Jinping is hosting the first ever China-Central Asia summit on Thursday and Friday (18 and 19 May). President Xi will host the presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the historic city of Xi'an, which once marked the beginning of the Silk Road trade route stretching from China to Europe. It will be the first in-person meeting between the presidents of the six countries after they held an online summit in January 2022 marking 30 years of relations. Chinese officials have said that the meeting will mark "a new era of cooperation" as Central Asia looks to expand ties both to its east and west as Russian influence in the region wanes as a result of its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the Chinese government newspaper Global Times, the presidents of the six countries will "exchange views on establishing mechanisms, cooperation and international, regional issues with respective concerns, as well as signing a slew of important political documents on trade, investment, connectivity and other areas".
patrickn97 Thu, 05/18/2023 - 08:28
Editorial: China wags the finger at the West ahead of its summit with Central Asian States

This editorial first appeared in the 16 May 2023 issue of our newsletter, Central Asia Concise. If you would like to subscribe to Central Asia Concise, or any other of our newsletters, please click here.

patrickn97 Tue, 05/16/2023 - 15:36
Georgia insists that no sanctioned Russian airlines will enter its airspace

A number of Georgian officials have insisted that no sanctioned Russian airlines will be allowed to enter its airspace. This follows news last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin reversed a 2019 ban on Russian airlines flying to Georgia on Wednesday (10 May).

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 09:40
Zelensky visits Germany and France over the weekend, allies pledge more support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Germany and France on Sunday (14 May) to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 07:29
Editor's choice
Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

After months of diplomacy by e-mail, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Washington DC in the first week of May for negotiations led by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the United States providing facilitation and support, writes in this editorial. The presence of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the opening of the talks, raised expectations that the talks may be conclusive. They were not, but enough progress was made for Blinken to return for the closing session, telling his guests that the US appreciated that the last bit of any negotiating process was going to be the most difficult. "The temptation to draw out the ongoing situation for many more months, with the hope that time is on their side, has big risks. Unplanned incidents still have the capacity to escalate quickly and spiral out of control, feeding on the existing level of mistrust. The violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan reported this morning (11 May) is a case in point. So in many ways this is the moment of truth, even if some would argue that we have been here before. Somehow however this time it feels different, even if the nitty-gritty problems have not gone away," they add.