June 2012

Kyrgyzstan Signs NATO Reverse Transit Agreement

By Roger McDermott

On May 22, during the NATO Summit in Chicago, Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow signed an agreement on ground transport routes for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), allowing the country to actively support the complex drawdown of Alliance forces from Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry believes that the new accord with NATO is not only in the interest of stabilizing Afghanistan, but will also contribute to the future security of Central Asia.

Two anniversaries mark milestones in NATO-Russia relations

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Fifteen years ago, on 27 May 1997, the signature of the NATO-Russia Founding Act provided the formal basis for bilateral cooperation. And ten years ago, on 28 May 2002, the creation of the NATO-Russia Council provided a forum for the Allies and Russia to meet as equals to discuss and cooperate on issues of common interest. Driven by a spirit of pragmatism in the face of shared security challenges, the relationship has come a long way since these milestones, though it has yet to live up to its strategic potential.

In Nuclear Gripe

By Daniil Rozanov

The main recent event, connected with the project of construction of new Visaginas NPP in Lithuania, can be considered that the Commission of Lithuanian Parliament on Nuclear Energy unexpectedly hasn’t approved a bill on nuclear power plant.

Socialists set to form next French government but Front National may enter parliament

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By Tony Cross

France’s newly elected President François Hollande can count on a Socialist-led government being elected next weekend, judging by results in the weekend’s first round of the French parliamentary election. But, for the first time for 24 years, there may be MPs from the far-right Front National (FN) in the National Assembly.

New Serbian President Favors Putin, Opposes NATO and Independent Kosovo

By Stephen Schwartz

On May 20, Tomislav Nikolic was elected president of Serbia in a second-round runoff against incumbent Boris Tadic. Tadic, who sought a third term, and his Democratic party, have been described as victims of Serbian populist opposition to European Union financial austerity. Nikolic, candidate of the Serbian Progressive Party (SPS), calls for Serbia to join the EU but favors economic coordination with Russia instead of Western Europe. Tadic now seeks the prime minister’s post.

Putin's Evolving Strategy in Europe

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By George Friedman

Putin's return to the presidency was not unexpected; he was never really unseated as Russia's leader, even during Dmitri Medvedev's presidency. But it comes as an anti-incumbent trend is developing in Europe, most recently demonstrated when socialist challenger Francois Hollande defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in France's presidential elections. In response to these changes, Putin will have to adjust Russia's approach in Europe.

Russia Stays Home

By Javier Solana

Just three days before his return to the Kremlin as Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin met behind closed doors at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow, with US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, who was there to transmit President Barack Obama’s renewed determination to strengthen cooperation with Russia. But Donilon returned home empty-handed: Putin will attend neither the G-8 summit on May 18-19 at Camp David, nor the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21, despite Obama’s effort to accommodate Russia by moving the G-8 summit from Chicago.

Islam’s European Hope

Mohamed Merah’s killing spree in and around Toulouse in March, like the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 suicide attacks in London’s Underground, has highlighted once again the dilemmas that Europe faces with regard to its growing Muslim minority. No social-integration model has proven to be free of flaws. But is the picture really so bleak as those who despair of an emerging “Eurabia” would have us believe?

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: EU needs political courage to condemn Armenian aggression

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The European Union (EU) must evaluate the facts and the fact that we have - it's aggression, and it should be judged just as aggression, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev told reporters on Saturday, commenting on statements by EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Philippe Lefort in Yerevan.

The Secretary's Daunting Agenda

By Ariel Cohen

Late last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her tour of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. In Scandinavia, she was to address several forums on climate change and green energy. While in Sweden, she also planned to discuss Internet freedom, Afghanistan and the Middle East. But it is in the mountains of the Caucasus and Turkey where Hillary will face the red meat of geopolitics: bloody ethnic conflicts over turf; religiously motivated massacres; and threshold nuclear states with global reach.