February 2012

Poland and Germany: How Close is too Close?

By Michal Baranowski, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

For hundreds of years, Poland suffered from an overbearing Germany that trampled on the rights of the Polish nation, occupied the country, and, at times, worked to extinguish the Polish nation-state entirely. No wonder that there is a residue of skepticism and caution in Poland when it comes to relations with its big neighbor to the west. A healthy distance and dose of hedging have long been the default position of the country’s foreign policy. Poland’s accession to the European Union has changed all that. Nearly eight years on, Poland is rephrasing its German question, and in a baffling way: how close is too close?

Paris “Bulldozer’ for Euro-Atlantic Integration of Armenia

By Anush Levonian

Reaction of Armenian citizens on the decision of the Senate of France to criminalize the responsibility for denial of genocide was extremely emotional. It was up to that some participants of the action "Merci, France!", who gathered by the building of the embassy in Yerevan tried to kiss the hand of French Ambassador coming out to them, which confused the diplomat greatly. Some excuse for such “Eastern spontaneity” although can be the fact that in Turkey and Azerbaijan emotions (naturally negative) are also extreme. One of Baku radio stations, for example, banned French music in its air.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister And The Secretary General For The Nordic Council Of Ministers Discuss Guidelines For Regional Cooperation And Joint Projects

On 9 February in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Secretary General for the Nordic Council of Ministers Halldór Ásgrímsson discussed the future of the Nordic-Baltic partnership, the new guidelines for the Baltic-Nordic cooperation that are currently being drafted and should enter into force after the expiry of the current ones in 2013.

Dzhioyeva Announced the Date of Her Inauguration

video

The leader of South Ossetia opposition, ex-candidate for the President of South Ossetia Alla Dzhioyeva declared to reporters that she had appointed the day of her inauguration on February 10th 2012. “I address to the acting President of South Ossetia Vadim Borovtsev and ask to delegate me the power in civilized way”, - said Dzhioyeva. She underlined that the inauguration shall take place in Tskhinvali in any case, even if the authorities won’t assure her required conditions.

NATO-sponsored project to help secure dangerous munitions in Tajikistan

Fifteen years after the end of a civil war, Tajikistan is left with thousands of tonnes of munitions insecurely stored in makeshift storage sites across the country. Aside from the many known munitions caches, several more lie undiscovered, posing a major security threat to the Tajik people. A Partnership Trust Fund project, officially launched on 31 January, will soon help Tajikistan to counter this threat.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Stresses The Importance Of Cooperation Of The Baltic Sea States For Ensuring Energy Security

In Plön, Northern Germany, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis took part in the 17th extraordinary session of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), during which the minister stressed the importance of regional cooperation for ensuring energy security.

Mr. Saakashvili’s choice

video

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili indignantly protests there is no comparison to be drawn between him and his nemesis, russian prime minister vladi­mir putin. In a meeting with The Post’s editorial board last week, he ticked off the differences: Mr. Putin’s regime is founded on corruption, while his is known for cleaning up Georgia’s once-dirty police and bureaucrats. Mr. Putin wages war on minorities, while Mr. Saakashvili’s government just passed a law to protect religious pluralism. Mr. Putin frequently opposes U.S. foreign policy, while Georgia has been a strong ally; it is about to double its troop contingent in Afghanistan.

The Secretary General’s Annual Report 2011

video

On 26 January, Anders Fogh Rasmussen launched the first ever ‘Annual Report’, which gives a brief overview of NATO’s principal achievements and challenges in 2011. This assessment of Alliance activities focuses on four areas: NATO operations, emerging security challenges, the modernization of NATO – its structures and capabilities - as well as NATO’s growing partnerships. These areas are examined against the backdrop of the financial crisis and are preceded by a foreword from the Secretary General.