January 2010

Berlin–Rome–Ankara

By Natalia Grib

Following the results of the meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin suggested to deepen the cooperation within energy sphere by assets exchanging. First of all the case is about the access to the resources of Black and Caspian Sea and the gas transporting system of Turkey. Also Ankara promises to arrange all approvals for the South Stream piping till November. Gazprom says that now Turkey stands in one list with its other strategic partners – Germany and Italy.

Improvement of Russian - Azerbaijani relations may change Russia's position on regional issues: Armenian expert

By E.Tariverdiyeva

After Moscow demonstrated its desire to improve relations with Baku, Armenia should be more concerned with a more serious shift in Russian policy, Director of Armenian Center for National and International Studies Richard Giragosianbelieves.

Former OSCE Chair Says Time Ripe For 'Serious Look' At Reform

The 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is facing hard times as observers increasingly question its relevance and effectiveness. At a Permanent Council session in Vienna on January 14, the new Kazakh chairmanship of the OSCE will lay out its plan for the coming year -- an agenda that former OSCE Chairman in Office and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb describes as "an extensive and ambitious working program." Stubb, who chaired the organization in 2008, spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Robert Coalson about the challenges the OSCE will face in 2010.

Spain's EU Presidency Greeted With Skepticism

By Soeren Kern

Spain's six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, which began on Jan. 1, 2010, is off to a bumpy start. With the Lisbon Treaty now in effect, the traditional role of the EU rotating presidency has been downgraded. Responsibility for many issues which were once the domain of the rotating presidency now falls to the newly named permanent EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, and EU foreign minister, Catherine Ashton -- who together are supposed to comprise the new "public face" of the EU.

For the West, 'Game Over' in Central Asia

By Andrea Bonzanni

Last month, the West officially lost the new "Great Game." The 20-year competition for natural resources and influence in Central Asia between the United States (supported by the European Union), Russia and China has, for now, come to an end, with the outcome in favor of the latter two. Western defeat was already becoming clear with the slow progress of the Nabucco pipeline and the strategic reorientation of some Central Asian republics toward Russia and China. Two recent events, however, confirmed it.