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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ratifies treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ratifies treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan

Kazakhstan's President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, officially ratified on Monday (20 May) a significant treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan, to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new strategic level. This pivotal agreement, initially signed in Tashkent on 22 December 2022, underscores a commitment to mutual independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, along with fostering sustainable economic growth between the two nations.

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EU, AU and US say crises in Sudan and in Ethiopia-Somalia relations threaten regional stability in the Horn of Africa

EU, AU and US say crises in Sudan and in Ethiopia-Somalia relations threaten regional stability in the Horn of Africa

The African Union, European Union, and United States called Thursday (18 January) for an immediate cease-fire and constructive dialogue between warring factions in Sudan. They also called for an end to tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over an agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region Somaliland. Representatives of the AU, EU and US spoke in Kampala, Uganda, after the meeting of an East African regional bloc. They said the two crises are threatening regional stability in the Horn of Africa. Annette Weber, the EU special envoy for the Horn of Africa, said the two crises have a common link with Red Sea, which she called a critical waterway carrying 10 percent of global cargo. Weber also said there needs to be a collective response among Horn of Africa countries against attacks on ships by Yemen-based Houthi rebels. Regarding Somalia, the AU, EU and US said they recognize the country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, including the breakaway region of Somaliland.
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Opinion: Can BRICS be Armenia's salvation?

Opinion: Can BRICS be Armenia's salvation?

Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have become full members of BRICS as from 1 January. Iran's membership brought BRICS to Armenia's doorstep, making Yerevan an immediate neighbour of the group. Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu says that given that currently, Armenia is in the painstaking process of re-assessing and re-evaluating its foreign policy. Armenia should carefully look into ways to expand its cooperation with BRICS member states: "first of all in the economic area, inviting BRICS investments into the infrastructure and other projects in Armenia. Armenia is in active discussions with Iran, India, and UAE to bring their investments into Armenia, and there is potential to have Chinese involvement through the Belt and Road Initiative. The possibility of receiving funding from the BRICS New Development Bank for various projects, which can be implemented by BRICS member companies, should be studied too."
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Commentary: encircled by war, violence and turmoil, can the six GCC countries sustain their quest for development?

Commentary: encircled by war, violence and turmoil, can the six GCC countries sustain their quest for development?

The six Gulf monarchies that form the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – project themselves as islands of peace and stability regardless of their difficult neighbourhood. For some time now their main focus has been the development of their economies – this to ensure that they can maintain their prosperity as the world transits away from hydrocarbon energy resources which up to now has been their main source of income. This they need to do not least to sustain the high standard of living to which their citizens have got used to. Ambitious plans, many costing tens of billions of euros to be implemented, are now in place. Most depend on peace, stability and tranquillity for their success. These attributes are these days in short supply in the wider region in which the GCC countries sit. An unprecedented level of war, crises and turmoil encircles the six countries. In this commentary commonspace.eu Managing Editor, Dr Dennis Sammut says that questions arise if the Gulf Monarchies have what it takes – not just in financial resources, and those things these resources can buy - but also in terms of wisdom, internal cohesion and strategic depth, to weather the storms of the future. Even if they are able to navigate the geopolitics of the moment, what impact is the tension that surrounds the region having on its domestic politics? Are the grandiose economic plans still viable, or is a more modest approach going to be necessary?
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UN Security Council adopts strongly-worded resolution condemning Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping

UN Security Council adopts strongly-worded resolution condemning Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday evening (10 January) adopted a resolution condemning Houthi attacks against international maritime shipping in the Red Sea. The resolution condemns “in the strongest terms” multiple Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea over the past two months, which have raised concerns over disruptions in global trade and regional security.  The council demanded that the group immediately cease such behavior and release the Galaxy Leader, a Japan-operated cargo ship with links to an Israeli businessman, and its 25 crew members.   Authored by the US and Japan, the resolution stated that there should be respect for international law that upholds the exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by operators of merchant and commercial vessels. It also noted that member states have the right to defend their vessels from attacks.  Since mid-November 2023, the Houthi rebels have repeatedly attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea, at last count 24 times, and threatened to continue to do so until Israel ends its war on Gaza.   The capture of the Galaxy Leader was followed by an attempt to seize another commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 26. There have now been almost daily, and indiscriminate, attacks in the Red Sea.  Prior to voting on the draft resolution, Council members voted on three amendments to the text that Russia had proposed, none of which were adopted. In all three votes, four members voted in favor (Algeria, China, Russia, and Sierra Leone), two members voted against (the UK and the US), and nine members abstained. The Council then voted on the Japan-US draft text, without any of the Russian amendments, which received 11 votes in favor and four abstentions (Algeria, China, Mozambique, and Russia). The draft text was adopted as resolution 2722.
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UAE president, Mohamed bin Zayed, in Baku for talks with Aliyev (Updated)

UAE president, Mohamed bin Zayed, in Baku for talks with Aliyev (Updated)

A high level delegation from the United Arab Emirates, led by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, travelled to Baku on Monday afternoon (8 January) for talks with president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. On Tuesday, President Mohamed bin Zayed and his delegation held talks with the president of Azerbaijan and other Azerbaijani officials. The official website of the Azerbaijani president also listed a number of documents agreed by the two sides that were signed in the framework of the visit. At the start of the visit, Sheikh Mohamed laid a wreath at the tomb of Heydar Aliyev, the founder of modern Azerbaijan, as well as at the Eternal Flame monument, according to UAE state news agency, Wam. The President was accompanied by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad, Adviser for Special Affairs at the Presidential Court; Ali Al Shamsi, deputy secretary general of the Supreme National Security Council; Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President and former minister of state for foreign affairs; Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Mohamed Al Suwaidi, Minister of Investment; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Minister of State; and Mohammed Al Balushi, ambassador to Azerbaijan. President Aliyev later in the evening hosted an official dinner for the Emirati guests. No information has been released regarding the nature of the talks under discussion, but for sure Azerbaijani is keen to learn from the experience of the UAE in hosting COP28 in December, as it prepares to host COP29 in Baku later this year. COP29 will be the biggest international event ever held in the South Caucasus. 
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Borrell holds talks with Saudi leaders

Borrell holds talks with Saudi leaders

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, visited Saudi Arabia on 7-8 January for talks with Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi. A statement from the European External Action Service  in Brussels said that the mission follows his trip to Lebanon and is part of Borrell’s engagement with regional partners to advance diplomatic efforts with a view to creating the conditions to reach a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine and in the region. "The trip will be an occasion to discuss all aspects of the situation in and around Gaza, including its impact on the region. He will also address the worrying escalation in the Red Sea", the statement added. During the meetings with Saudi officials in Al-Ula bilateral cooperation and regional priorities in the framework of the EU’s partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council were discussed.