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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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Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed

Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group had the mandate to facilitate a resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their failure to do so and the fact that there is no agreement between the parties in the conflict on its future role in the changed situation after the 2020 war leaves this process without any legitimacy, argues Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "The calls of the French and American representatives to give a second chance to the Minsk Group are perceived in Baku as more of geopolitical nature rather than as an honest attempt to contribute to the peace efforts", he argues.
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Putin-Erdogan talks in Sochi

Putin-Erdogan talks in Sochi

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president, Recip Tayip Erdogan had four hours of talks in Sochi on Friday (5 August) to discuss a number of pressing issues, including Syria and Ukraine. In the joint statement released after the meeting the two presidents pointed out the importance of sincere, frank and trust-based relations between Turkey and Russia for the establishment of regional and international stability. "The two leaders confirmed that constructive relations between the two countries played a role in reaching the Istanbul Agreement on the transport of grain and food from Ukraine."   In the joint statement, Russia's implementation in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Istanbul Agreement, including the uninterrupted export of raw materials for the production of grain, fertilizer and fertilizer was underlined.. "The leaders confirmed their determination to act in solidarity and coordination in the fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria."  The two presidents agreed to boost political and economic cooperation including in energy and trade.
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G7 warn China over Taiwan

G7 warn China over Taiwan

The G7 countries have called on China not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the Taiwan Strait and beyond, and to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means. In a statement, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, reaffirmed their shared commitment to maintaining the rules-based international order, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and beyond. The statement added: We are concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation. There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally. The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.
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Pelosi vows support for Taiwan during controversial visit

Pelosi vows support for Taiwan during controversial visit

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has vowed continued American support for Taiwan during a controversial visit to the Island which has been condemned by China. China considers Taiwan as a renegade province, and the United States, in line with the rest of the international community, has since the 1970s maintained only full diplomatic relations with Beijing, even though it has an informal diplomatic presence on the Island, and maintains with it strong military co-operation. Pelosi, the third highest ranking US official, after the President and the Vice President, made the visit to Taiwan despite concerns from the White House and the US military and security establishment. Speaking at the presidential palace in Taipei, Pelosi said: "We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship. Now, more than ever, America's solidarity with Taiwan is crucial. And that is the message we are bringing here today." During the meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen, Pelosi was presented with "The Order of Propitious Clouds", which is a Taiwanese civilian honour. Presenting Pelosi with the Special Grand Cordon, which is the award's top rank, President Tsai said she was awarding it to Pelosi to thank the US for its support.
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Kosovo-Serbia tensions defused after a flurry of overnight diplomatic activity

Kosovo-Serbia tensions defused after a flurry of overnight diplomatic activity

A flurry of diplomatic activity on Sunday night helped defuse tensions between Kosovo and Serbia which saw both sides mobilising military forces. The crisis revolved around a decision of the government of Kosovo that would introduce new rules requiring Serbs in Kosovo to swap their Serbian-issued car number plates for Kosovan-issued ones. The rules were due to come into force at midnight on Monday. But on Sunday ethnic Serbs in the north barricaded roads and armed men fired shots in protest. The rules' implementation has now been delayed for a month following consultations with the US and EU. NATO described the situation as "tense" as hundreds of ethnic-Serbs parked trucks, tankers and other vehicles near two key border crossings with Serbia in protest over the new rules, forcing the police to close the two crossings. The mission led by the alliance in Kosovo, KFOR, said it was "prepared to intervene if stability is jeopardised, in accordance with its mandate, coming from UNSC resolution 1244 of 1999."
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UN to investigate deadly attack which Iraq blames on Turkey

UN to investigate deadly attack which Iraq blames on Turkey

UN Security Council members have backed Iraq’s demand for a major investigation into a deadly July 20 artillery attack on a tourist area popular with Iraqis in the mountainous Duhok governorate of the Kurdistan region that left at least nine people dead and 23 others wounded. It comes only days after the Security Council unanimously condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.” However, council members did not mention Turkey during the emergency meeting late on Tuesday that was sought by Iraq and the UAE to discuss the attack. On the day of the strike, Baghdad summoned Turkey’s ambassador to condemn what it described as a “heinous crime committed by the Turkish troops, which has topped its continuous aggressions on the sovereignty of Iraq and its territories.”   Turkey has denied responsibility, and blames the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party, which it considers a terrorist organization, for the attack. The PKK has been engaged in a long-running guerrilla war in southeast Turkey. Iraq does not give sanctuary to PKK fighters or its leadership, many of whom take refuge in the mountains where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey meet. Baghdad has repeatedly rejected their presence on its territory. On Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned an attack on its Consulate-General in Mosul the night before and called for the Iraqi authorities to take steps to protect its diplomatic missions.
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Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakh president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, on Sunday (24 July) concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia during which he sought to strengthen relations with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan will enhance mutual trade and investment in several sectors, according to a joint statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency at the end of the visit. This cooperation includes areas related to petrochemicals, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, transport and logistics. Other agreements cover information technology, digital transformation, financial services and space, SPA reported. During his visit President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held wide-ranging talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in sports, media, medicine and finance. The also agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, research and innovation.
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Yemen braces itself for different scenarios as deadline for expiration of truce looms

Yemen braces itself for different scenarios as deadline for expiration of truce looms

The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg has intensified contacts with all local and regional parties to support the implementation of the remaining clauses in Yemen's soon to expire truce. Grunderberg hopes that the truce can be extended beyond the current term which ends on 2 August.  Grundberg acknowledged that there were shortcomings in the full implementation of the truce but stressed repeatedly that the truce helped make a significant impact on people's lives. Read the full press release here.  On the thorny question of the opening of the Taiz road, Grunderb noted that dialogue and coordination between the two sides needs to continue. He added that unilateral actions do not help provide a safe passage for goods and travellers.  Sources speaking to the publication The New Arab suggested that the UN is seeking a six month extension of the truce. The Special Envoy, however, has to first address complaints from both sides. It is expected that he visits both Muscat and Aden in the coming days.  On another note, forces loyal to Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) which heads the internationally recognised Yemeni government, are said to be preparing for the next wave of battles. Around 14 thousand fighters, divided into three brigades and supported by Saudi Arabia, have completed training and are on stand by in areas under the government's control. The brigades, known as 'Happy Yemen Brigades' are believed to be an extension to forces that engaged in battles in early 2022 before the truce went into effect.  Currently, those brigades are tasked with security and protection missions and it is not clear if they will be assigned any frontline duties.