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Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

After hours of negotiations, with the mediation of European Council president Charles Michel, and French president Emanuel Macron, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan , Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, have taken a historic step towards lasting peace. Both countries have recognised each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and committed to tangible steps to establish peace and stability in the region. President Macron tweeted early this morning "Tonight, Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty." The four leaders held two long sessions of negotiations on the margins of the summit of the European Political Community which was launched at Prague Castle on Thursday afternoon (6 October). It is also understood that a number of other decisions were taken. It was agreed that the EU will deploy on the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border a civilian monitoring mission, for a period of two months starting from October.

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Impasse in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo

Impasse in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo

High level talks between Serbia and Kosovo, facilitated by the European Union, have failed to unblock the impasse between them.  EU High Representative Josep Borrell hosted the talks between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Belgrade on Thursday, 18 August. Kosovo declared independence unilaterally from Serbia in 2008, after a long period of tension with Belgrade which had already emerged during the time of Yugoslavia.  Serbia still considers Kosovo an integral part of its territory. Around a hundred countries, including most EU member states, recognise Kosovo's independence. Kosovo has a population of 1.8 million population, which is 90% ethnic Albanian. However 5% are Serbs, and it is the rights of this community that are the present stumbling block, but it is also recognised that differences are more substantial and wide-ranging. A clearly disappointed EU High Representative told the media after the event that the immediate objective of the talks had failed, but that both sides agreed to keep talking.
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The arrival of a Chinese spy ship in Sri Lanka unsettles India

The arrival of a Chinese spy ship in Sri Lanka unsettles India

China’s satellite tracking vessel Yuan Wang 5 arrived at Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota Port, on Tuesday (16 August) despite the concerns of both India and the United States. The vessel was earlier scheduled to dock at the Chinese managed Hambantota port on August 11 for “replenishment”, according to officials. Its arrival was postponed by five days after Sri Lankan authorities made a request to China, reportedly citing Indian security concerns. Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry said the ship will be allowed to remain in the Chinese-run port until 22 August. Foreign security analysts quoted by Reuters describe the Yuan Wang 5 as one of China's latest generation space-tracking ships, used to monitor satellite, rocket and intercontinental ballistic missile launches. Several Indian media reports described it as a "dual-use spy ship". Shipping analytics websites call it a research and survey vessel. One report by Indian news site NDTV said the government in Delhi was concerned about "the possibility of the ship's tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian installations while on its way to Sri Lanka". Earlier in July, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said the government was monitoring the ship's planned visit, adding that Delhi would protect its security and economic interests.
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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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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.