The fact that a meeting of NATO countries on the issues of strategy in Afghanistan in early February was held in Turkey's Istanbul looks symbolic enough. Turkey as a member of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance is the most eastern of its member countries not only geographically, but it is closest to the Muslim East by mentality. On the other hand, Turkey aims to join the EU, though it faces the resistance from some countries, first of all France. Istanbul – the former Constantinople – is officially included on the list of the European Capitals of Culture this year. As we know, the city is located in the western part of Turkey and, what's more important, is not only a treasury of Islamic religion and culture, but also one of the historic centers of Christian Civilization.
"Lithuania is interested in the successful development of transport and energy infrastructure projects connecting the Baltic and Black Sea regions," President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė said at the meeting with Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bağiş.
Since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on Dec. 1, 2009, the European Union's foreign policy has taken the first steps toward an institutional restructuring. Lisbon introduced a permanent president of the European Council as well as the post of high representative (HR) for foreign affairs, and established a European foreign service corps known as the European Action Service (EAS).
“We want to put an end to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh by peaceful means…but at the same time, our patience also has limits.”
Falling supplies due to rising temperatures and retreating glaciers could spark conflict between water-stressed countries in the region, says Oxfam
Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller held talks in Sofia on February 16 “to activate work on the South Stream project in Bulgaria”. Bulgaria is the country most pivotal to South Stream. The pipeline is planned to run from Russia across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and from that country to bifurcate toward central and southern Europe.
OSCE should play a bigger role in the South Caucasus in working toward peaceful settlement of protracted conflicts and democratic processes in the region. This was the consensus during the meetings in Baku, Yerevan, and Tbilisi, as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, visited the three capitals on his first visit to a region with the organization’s field presence on February 15-17.
Russia, it would seem, is finally making some of the right noises about tougher sanctions against Iran. Excellent.
Vladimir Putin was in favor of Barack Obama's reconfigured missile defense plan before he was against it.
Integration of the energy market and a more dynamic cooperation of the Baltic countries in foreign and security policies would provide an additional impetus to the development of the Nordic-Baltic region, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined at the meeting with members of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) opened a field office in Chisinau in order to better assist Moldova's Customs Service and Border Guard Service in securing the border and facilitating trade and contacts over the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.
Armenia is showcasing its close relationship with Iran at a delicate time in its negotiations with two other, less friendly neighbors: Azerbaijan and Turkey. With the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the resolution of the Karabakh conflict looking increasingly problematic, authorities in Yerevan seem to be hedging their bets by pursuing more multi-million dollar commercial projects with Tehran.
Experts agree that if Iran's claims about its ability to produce higher-grade enriched uranium are true, the country could have weapons-grade uranium within six months. What does this mean for the West?
Iran, it seems, is going to turn into one of the main litmus tests of exactly how influential Turkey has become in the region.Ankara is in an uncomfortable position in this respect. If it does not manage to bring Tehran around to a reasonable position on the uranium-enrichment issue, it runs the risk of being isolated among its allies.
Poland has threatened to freeze progress in EU-Belarus relations and to lobby the IMF to cut off aid following a crackdown on ethnic Poles.