November 2012

Fuss over nuclear issues in the region and possible threats

By Vaiva Sapetkaitė

„We are fighting. You know that today nobody uses weapons or tanks in these latitudes. The struggle is for energy, through energy and via propaganda. Remember, when Lithuania started developing Visaginas nuclear power plant (NPP) project, immediately the two new nuclear power plant projects emerged in the neighborhood of Lithuania“, said Rokas Žilinskas, Chairman of the Parliamentary Nuclear Energy Commission during the conference „Lithuania-Belarus: Nuclear Neighborhood“.

Gazprom Promotes the “South Stream” Intensively

By Mikhail Agadzanyan

The visit of the Russian President in Bulgaria, which was planned on the first decade this month, has been postponed. Nevertheless, it is expected that Vladimir Putin shall visit Sofia right after Turkey. Yet instead of the Head of Russian State Bulgaria shall be visited by “Gazprom” Chairman Alexey Miller who shall proceed with signing of the series of final investment treaties with East European partners of Russia on the “South Stream”.

Kazakhstan Elected Member of UN Human Rights Council

By Richard Weitz

On November 12, the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Kazakhstan for the first time to the UN Human Rights Council, for the 2013–2015 term, with 183 of 193 member states voting affirmatively. Various international human rights groups openly lobbied against the election of several countries, including Kazakhstan, but their campaigns proved ineffective. Kazakhstan received the fifth highest vote total of the 20 candidates competing for the 18 available seats for this round.

China and the U.S., Frenemies Forever

By Clive Crook

This week China’s ruling elite appoints new leaders for the next decade. The incoming president, Xi Jinping, and his colleagues face such fearsome challenges that, in their moment of victory, one almost sympathizes. Understanding their difficulties and calibrating U.S. policy accordingly will be among the biggest tests for the new Obama administration. For everybody’s sake, Beijing and Washington both need to do some rethinking.

U.S., Afghanistan launch negotiations on legal authority for U.S. armed forces to continue post-2014 presence in Afghanistan

The Governments of Afghanistan and the U.S. officially launched their negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that will determine how many American military personnel stay in Afghanistan after 2014, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Integrating Russia’s Post-Imperium

By Dmitri Trenin

With Russia’s 2012 presidential elections effectively over since Vladimir Putin’s decision to reclaim his old Kremlin office, it is time to turn from personalities to policies. Putin plans to stay in the Kremlin for two more presidential terms, another 12 years, as he is enabled to do by the recently-amended constitution. So who will be Russia’s next president is now a certainty; less obvious is what he hopes to achieve.

Estonia wary of Nord Stream expansion

Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu sent a letter to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet on Oct. 23 urging the government to refuse to allow the third and fourth lines of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline project to run through Estonia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Reinsalu’s letter comes just a month after the Russo-German project requested permission to perform studies on Estonia’s seabed. Estonia rejected a similar request in 2007 for environmental and safety reasons and on the grounds that hosting a strategic Russian asset could create a security threat for the Baltic country.

Afghan security forces on track to take full security responsibility

"Our national security forces continue to grow on a daily basis. I am confident that we will complete the process of transition to full Afghan security responsibility by the end of 2014, as previously agreed," said Major General Asadullah Akramyar, Deputy Assistant Minister for Policy and Strategy at the Afghan Ministry of Defence while visiting NATO Headquarters on 9 November.