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?
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.
The return of Abdulaziz Kamilov, a veteran of Uzbek foreign intelligence and diplomacy, to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, is certainly linked to the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. He faces the task of preparing his country for new and close contact with the Taliban.
Azerbaijan and Italy discuss prospects of cooperation in energy sector
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.
Lithuania supports the principle of discreet defense of NATO and speeds up partners to grant accreditation to the Alliance Center of Energy Security in Vilnius. The Heads of NATO promise that the Center shall be recognized already this year, LTV reports.
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.
Kazakhstan hopes to win over the European Union as another key trade partner alongside Russia and China. Experts see the Berlin visit of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev as paving the way.
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.
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.
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.
Iran’s navy may not be a match for the U.S. on the high seas, but the Strait of Hormuz offers plenty of ways for it to make life tricky.
As the US declared its 2013 defense budget, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration was preparing to create special-operations bases in Turkey. The claim was denied by the Pentagon and not confirmed by Ankara
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.
For Armenia, Iran is de facto the sole connection to the outside world. The transport routes through other neighboring countries are blocked. Yerevan fears isolation in case of a military conflict in the Gulf.