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March 2015

Vytis Jurkonis: Kaliningrad has been among the most important issues in Lithuanian foreign affairs

Exclusive interview of the lecturer Institute of International Relations and Political Science (Vilnius University) Mr. Vytis Jurkonis. READ MORE

EU refuses to grant 1.2 billion euro to Greece

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Eurozone countries have found no legal basis for the allocation of funds for Greece from bank recapitalization fund.  READ MORE

China, Russia and the Tussle for Influence in Kazakhstan

By Arthur Guschin

The two powers are pursuing competing interests in Central Asia. READ MORE

Ukraine not to get visa-free regime with EU at Riga May summit

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The EU will continue to review the implementation of Ukraine's obligations. There will be no decision on visa-free regime.  READ MORE

Chinese company plans to participate in drilling rigs production in Kazakhstan

By Elena Kosolapova

Chinese company KERUI Group plans to participate in mobile drilling rigs production in northern Kazakhstan, the official website of North-Kazakhstan region said. READ MORE

“You can bomb it away”

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By SUSAN B. GLASSER

The State Department’s former No. 2 on Iran’s nuclear program, Putin and past secretaries of state READ MORE

Russia Targets NATO With Military Exercises

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Russian military exercises, the latest in a series across the country, have taken on a threatening posture. While the most recent installment is not the largest exercise Russia has conducted, the areas involved and the forces included seem to have been deliberately chosen to send a warning to NATO; the exercise itself seems to simulate a full-scale confrontation with NATO through the forward deployment of nuclear armed submarines, theater ballistic missiles and strategic bomber aircraft. Strategic weapon systems, including assets that are part of Russia's nuclear capabilities, have also been deployed to locations near NATO's borders. READ MORE

ADB reviews forecast for Kazakhstan's economic growth

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) updated its GDP growth forecast on Kazakhstan in 2015, the bank's Asian Development Outlook 2014 report, released on March 24 said. READ MORE

Russia and Turkey in Central Asia: Partnership or Rivalry?

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By Dina Malysheva

As they become more involved in the complex process of geopolitical balancing, the post-Soviet states of Central Asia are trying to shrink away from orienting on a single global or regional center in order to maintain smooth relations with all external actors represented in the region. Meanwhile, the situation there will largely be determined by the consequences of the withdrawal of the international coalition forces in Afghanistan. Military operations conducted by the coalition in Afghanistan since 2001 entered the final stage this year. READ MORE

Entering NATO would pose security risks for Finland – finance minister

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In an interview for Finnish television, Finland's Finance Minister voiced his view that now is not the right time for Finland to join the Western military alliance, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE reports. READ MORE

Rumours of US plans to conquer world do not make sense: US Ambassador to Kazakhstan

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The United States Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol has spoken about the alleged U.S. involvement in the so-called "color revolutions”. READ MORE

In order to manage the risk of climate change

By Arthur Dunn

One of the most important requirements for companies to governments, investors and consumers, it is the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE

Turkmenistan considers China as important strategic partner

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Turkmenistan is considering China as an important strategic partner, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said at a meeting with the Deputy Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and the Head of the China Energy Association Nuer Baikeli. READ MORE

Crimea Is the Final Nail in the Soviet Union's Coffin

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By Fyodor Lukyanov

The one-year anniversary of the takeover of Crimea sparked renewed debate over what that means for Russia's history. Perhaps the main result is that it put a definitive end to the history of the Soviet state. READ MORE

Kyrgyz president to mull co-op issues with some European counterparts

By Elena Kosolapova

President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev will discuss the bilateral cooperation issues with some of his European counterparts and EU institutions, the message from Kyrgyz presidency said. READ MORE

Polish-US military exercises underway

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Polish-American military exercises are underway in Sochaczew, 50 kilometres west of Warsaw, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. READ MORE

Identifying Islam with terror is a mistake that should be avoided - Turkey’s EU minister

Identifying Islam with terror is a mistake that should be avoided, Turkey’s EU minister told an anti-terrorism meeting in Brussels on Saturday. READ MORE

Iran nuclear talks halted as deadline looms

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Talks in Switzerland between international officials and Iran over the Middle Eastern state's nuclear program have been suspended. Both sides are due to draw up a draft deal by March 31. READ MORE

New strategic priorities and opportunities of investment and trade cooperation with Switzerland

The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Swiss Confederation in cooperation with the Delegation of German economy to Central Asia and the Joint Chamber of Commerce "Switzerland - CIS" with support of the ABB Group on March 18th, 2015 in Zurich organized a round table "Kazakhstan today: the new strategic priorities and opportunities for investment and trade cooperation with Switzerland", Foreign Ministry informs. The event was attended by the representatives of the Swiss business circles, interested in expanding partnerships and entering new markets. READ MORE

Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia enhance railway sector cooperation

Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia agreed on opening the representative offices at each other's railway companies. READ MORE

Azerbaijan, Turkey make EU energy dreams come true

By Aygun Badalova

Azerbaijan and Turkey in a very short period of time were able to demonstrate to the whole world how in having the desire and making concerted efforts, one can implement a major project, which is very important not only for these two countries, but also the whole of Europe. READ MORE

Vladimir Slyviak: Kaliningrad region doesn‘t need electricity from Baltic NPP

By Tomas Jarvi

Project of NPP in Russia's Kaliningrad region remains frozen. At the same time “Rosatom” is declaring that it may be restarted, but in fact Russian energy supply to EU is unreliable, says the co-chairman of Russian environmental group “Ecodefense” Vladimir Slyviak during his exclusive interview.  READ MORE

2015 to pose great challenge to EEU – Nazarbayev

2015 will pose big risks and challenges to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), believes President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. READ MORE

Is EU Support for Russia Sanctions Waning? See Who's Visiting the Kremlin

By James G Neuger

For evidence of the European Union’s diminishing appetite for sanctions against Russia, look no further than Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin guestbook. READ MORE

NATO and Moldova discuss ways to strengthen partnership

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Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici to NATO on Monday (16 March 2015) for talks on strengthening the partnership between the Alliance and Chișinău. Calling Moldova “a valued NATO partner”, the Secretary General underlined that “all NATO Allies support Moldova’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and respect its constitutional neutrality.” READ MORE

Estonia Hopes to Increase Cooperation in Transit, Technology, Education

By Michelle Witte

As NATO Contact Point in Kazakhstan, Ambassador of Estonia Jaan Reinhold hopes to share the values of the alliance in the country; bilaterally, the ambassador is hoping to see an increase in educational, technological and scientific exchanges during his mission here, as well increase agricultural and transit cooperation. READ MORE

CSTO countries to hold joint military exercises in Russia and Armenia

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Defense officials of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan discussed in Moscow the issues of preparing and holding the upcoming joint military exercises entitled “Unbreakable Brotherhood 2015 and “Cooperation 2015” in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). READ MORE

Views of China on Strategic Partnership with Russia

By Viktor Gavrilov

To the mind of western analysts China has experienced the evolution of views from ideological concerns regarding “capitalization” of Russia and its possible anti-China politics to revolutionary idealism, when the options for cooperation within Russian-Chinese relations were reevaluated. In particular, in connection with the “kinky” policy of Russia in relation to the oil line piping in the Far East region China noted that Russia distrusts its policy in strategy. Before the coming of Hu Jintau Chinese Government had eventually balanced its views on its national interests and the need to regulate its relations with Russia. READ MORE

Europe’s Fight against ISIS: A New Security Leadership?

By Derek Chollet, Steven Keil

 Late last month, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle steamed into the Persian Gulf to join the fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While little noticed in the United States, the de Gaulle’s arrival significantly enhances what France is bringing to the fight. Already a key contributor to the anti-ISIS coalition, France’s carrier-based operations will significantly reduce the flight time of aircraft striking targets in Iraq. When the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, visited the carrier with his French counterpart last week, French officials said that as many as 15 Rafale fighter jets take off from the de Gaulle each day to conduct combat missions. READ MORE

Russia still struggling to connect with Asian markets

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By Alexander Gabuev

Despite numerous statements declaring Russia’s “pivot to Asia,” the country still faces challenges connecting the goals of the government with the needs of foreign investors. READ MORE

Despite Multiple Troubles, Russia Continues Its Pressure Against Georgia

By Vasili Rukhadze

One might expect that while Russia’s political, diplomatic, military and economic resources are tied down in its protracted war in Ukraine, the Kremlin would have difficulty focusing on other regions within the post-Soviet space. But even a casual glance at Russia’s recent activities in Georgia immediately dispels such assumptions. READ MORE

Member states reassert sovereignty over energy mix ahead of EU summit

By James Crisp

European Union governments have reasserted their authority over their national energy policies, before leaders meet to discuss the bloc’s plans for Energy Union on Thursday (19 March). READ MORE

Strengthening Franco-Polish ties

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls met with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and President Bronislaw Komorowski in Warsaw to discuss, among others, deepening of the economic ties between both countries. READ MORE

Kazakhstan is doing much to solve the problem of food security in Central Asia and in the world - US Ambassador

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Kazakhstan is doing much to solve the problem of food security in the Central Asian region and in the world, this has been said by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States in the Republic of Kazakhstan George A. Krol at a conference on food security in Astana. READ MORE

Iran's oil, gas, power transit proposal for Turkmenistan

By Dalga Khatinoglu

The Iranian president has proposed that Turkmenistan study the possibility of transiting oil, gas and power to other countries through its territory. READ MORE

From a Greater Europe to a Greater Asia?

By Dmitri Trenin

A year ago, Russia's foreign policy universe changed dramatically. After the overthrow in February 2014 of then Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and the arrival of nationalist and pro-Western forces in power in Kiev, the Ukrainian crisis led to Russia's confrontation with the US and its estrangement from Europe. By contrast, Moscow's relations with Beijing have grown visibly closer since then, going way beyond the "marriage of convenience" model that some scholars once devised to describe them. If the current situation persists, the Sino-Russian entente may become a more salient feature of international relations.  READ MORE

Estonia Considering Shipping Goods Between Europe and China via Kazakhstan

By Michelle Witte

Estonia is the latest country to publicly mull using Kazakhstan’s transit infrastructure to ship goods between China and Europe. READ MORE

Turkmenistan, Turkey sign new energy deals

Following a meeting with Turkmen president Gurbanguli Berdimuhamedov in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan will establish a trilateral mechanism on energy issues, with the first leaders' meeting to take place in Turkmenistan, reports Today's Zaman. READ MORE

Croats Split on Value of Serbian Minister's Visit

By Sven Milekic

Croatian political analysts differ on the lasting signficance of Wednesday’s visit to Zagreb of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. READ MORE

NATO and Spain discuss Alliance’s response to new security challenges

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Spain for its many contributions to the Alliance during a visit to Madrid on Thursday (12 March 2015). He underscored that NATO is responding to threats both to the east and the south. After meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey, the Secretary General had an audience with His Majesty King Felipe VI. In a joint press conference following a meeting with Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, Mr. Stoltenberg called Spain “a staunch Ally,” adding, “you do a lot for our shared security.” READ MORE

Tehran, Ankara to discuss expansion of trade ties

Iran and Turkey will discuss expansion of trade ties during the trip of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iran, which is scheduled for the second half of the first month of the next Iranian calendar year (March 21-April 4).  READ MORE

New mediator

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Increased contacts between Moscow and European leaders creates a fertile ground for the understanding of the parties' position in the Ukrainian crisis. READ MORE

Strategic Implications of Chinese Energy Policy

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By Gal Luft

As China’s far-flung energy acquisition strategy comes a cropper, the geopolitics of China’s ‘near abroad’ is getting dicey. READ MORE

Russia can use Trans-Adriatic pipeline, Commission confirms

By Georgi Gotev

A Commission official confirmed yesterday (5 March) that Gazprom can use the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) to move gas, if the Russian export monopoly builds the “Turkish Stream” pipeline and brings gas to Greece. READ MORE

IN UNITY AND HARMONY

By Daniel Rozanov

On April 26 in Kazakhstan will be held a special election of the president. The initiative to hold early elections were members of the public. It was supported by the majority of the population. READ MORE

Russian psychological warfare in Latvia

By Jakob Ljungman

Russia has long attempted a campaign of mainly non-military means in Latvia consisting of numerous strategies taking place both in the country and its surrounding areas. These campaigns must be viewed in light of the severe military escalation in the Baltic Sea and in Eastern Europe, says Swedish analyst Jakob Ljungman in his recent report. READ MORE

A German king, a Greek crown - historic roots of troubled ties

Greece has railed against what it sees as German dominance since the 2010 start of the eurozone financial crisis, but antagonism between the two countries can be traced back to the 19th century. READ MORE

US diplomat warns Europe of 'dangerous' defence spending cuts

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A senior US diplomat has warned of a "dangerous" gulf emerging between US and European defence spending. READ MORE

Economic crisis not over for Spain: EC chief

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The president of the European Commission has rejected claims from within the Spanish government that the country has exited economic recession, saying the crisis still lingers for the Spaniards. READ MORE

President of Uzbekistan approves enhanced cooperation deal with Russia

President Islam Karimov signed an agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and Russia on the main directions of development and deepening of economic cooperation for 2015 - 2019, the official media report  READ MORE

Kazakh FM Urges More Progress in Nuclear Disarmament, Stresses Commitment to Human Rights

Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov urged greater global efforts in nuclear disarmament at the plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament and addressed the High Level Segment of the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on March 4.“Today, the world is experiencing a major transformation. We have witnessed growing friction between major powers over perceived zones of influence, markets, control over energy resources and the movement of commercial minerals. This growing instability can lead to conflicts and foster a dangerous trend where states use power rather than diplomacy in world pmfa02olitics. As a result, this can lead to an arms race, as well as to the use of military force and other forms of coercion when protecting national interests,” Idrissov said at the March 4 conference, emphasising that the forum had the potential to make a major contribution to the disarmament process. READ MORE

Make or Break: What is the Future of Russian–Polish Relations?

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By Maria Gurova

On February 16, 2015, the Russian International Affairs Council held a joint seminar with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) entitled “Proposals for the Development of Russian–Polish Partnership”. READ MORE

Preparations for the opening of one of the most challenging negotiations between Montenegro and the European Union

By Adnan Prekicc

Montenegro is planning to open one of the most challenging negotiations with the European Union this year. Chapter 27, which refers to the Environment and climate changes is to open since the Montenegrin government fulfilled the commitments of the last action plan, which are the condition for the opening of negotiations on this chapter. Up to now Montenegro has opened 16 chapters in the negotiations with the European Union. READ MORE

EU looks for possibility to hold trilateral meeting on Trans-Caspian pipeline

By Aygun Badalova

The European Commission is looking for the possibility to hold trilateral format meeting on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, a source in the European Commission told Trend on February 26. READ MORE

Secretary General visit to Finland stresses strong partnership

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NATO is determined to strengthen its partnership with Finland to better address security challenges to the east and south, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during his visit to Helsinki on Thursday (5 March, 2015). Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb for his nation’s close cooperation with the Alliance, calling Finland “one of our most active and closest partners." READ MORE

Aliyev's visit: strengthening the strategic partnership

By Kamer KASIM

The relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan can be defined as a true strategic partnership. Since its first days of independence, Azerbaijan has always had the support of Turkey in its struggle to recover its territorial integrity. The motto of “two states, one nation” has frequently been used to define the relationship between the two states. And now, the tension originating from misconceptions surrounding around the Turkey-Armenia protocols has been swiftly resolved. The high-level visits and intense frequency of contacts between these two countries have help to preserve their strategic partnership. READ MORE

US commander in Europe: Putin might try to destabilize a NATO country

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Lieutenant General Frederick Hodges, US army commander in Europe, accused Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, of seeking to destroy Nato, and warned that Russia could seek to use the sort of “hybrid warfare” seen in eastern Ukraine against a NATO member to test the alliance. READ MORE

Another six points agreed upon regarding Caspian Sea legal status draft convention

By Seba Aghayeva

Caspian states agreed on six additional points of a draft convention on the Caspian Sea’s legal status, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour said March 5. READ MORE

Russia and Ukraine: New Gas War Coming?

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By Tatyana Stanovaya

Starting from March 31 the validity term of the winter package of agreements on gas supplies between Russia and Ukraine ends. During this period Ukraine gets the fuel at a preferential price on the prepayment terms. As March 31 approaches the risks of new gas aggravation increase acutely: Russia warns that in case of no new agreements the risk of no more blue fuel supplies persists. However in the current situation another matter occurs in addition to the dispute on prices and terms of supplies: the problem of direct supplies from Russia to the LPR and DNR. Now the gas issue shall be tightly connected with the conflict in Ukraine. READ MORE

Azerbaijan, NATO strategic partners – Romanian ambassador

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By Anakhanum Khidayatova

The relations between Azerbaijan and NATO are strategic, the head of the diplomatic mission Daniel Ciobanu said during a round table held in the Romanian embassy in Baku. READ MORE

Hungary continues to aim to develop cooperation with Kazakhstan

Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártófollowed their meeting by signing a working plan between the foreign ministries for 2015-16. READ MORE

Russia Proposes a Yalta-2 Geopolitical Tradeoff to Solve the Ukrainian Crisis

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By Pavel Felgenhauer

As the Ukraine crisis deepens and European countries increasingly worry about the possibility of an all-out confrontation with Russia, the Kremlin has begun to make public the basic conditions of an overall political solution that could stabilize and deescalate the standoff. READ MORE

The Intersection of Three Crises

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By Reva Bhalla

Within the past two weeks, a temporary deal to keep Greece in the eurozone was reached in Brussels, a cease-fire roadmap was agreed to in Minsk and Iranian negotiators advanced a potential nuclear deal in Geneva. Squadrons of diplomats have forestalled one geopolitical crisis after another. Yet it would be premature, even reckless, to assume that the fault lines defining these issues are effectively stable. Understanding how these crises are inextricably linked is the first step toward assessing when and where the next flare-up is likely to occur. READ MORE

Italian, Russian leaders hold talks over EU-Russia ties, Ukraine crisis

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Trade ties were on the table when Italian Prime Minister Renzi and Russian President Putin met in Moscow. But military maneuvers around the Black Sea and the ongoing Ukraine conflict were no doubt on the leaders' minds. READ MORE

Ukraine, Poland sign agreement on security cooperation

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March 5, the agreement on cooperation between the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine and the National Security Bureau (BBN) of the Republic of Poland has been signed in Warsaw. READ MORE

Monthly Mind February 2015: "The Fog of Disorder"

By Wolfgang Ischinger

Which emerging threat is the world missing right now? After a truly horrendous year for international peace and security, this question today is even more important than usual for the international strategic community. READ MORE

Kazakhstan, Iran naval forces to strengthen cooperation

Commander of the Iranian Navy Habibollah Sayyari and a delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran have arrived in Astana with the official visit, Kazinform refers to the press service of the Defense Ministry of Kazakhstan. READ MORE

Is Turkey withdrawing from NATO?

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By VERDA ÖZER

Last week, the news fell like a bombshell. Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz declared at the Turkish parliament that Turkey’s new defense missile system, to be purchased most probably from China, would not be integrated with NATO’s system. This kicked off a hot discussion on whether Turkey is changing its strategic affiliation and might ultimately withdraw from NATO. READ MORE

U.S., Chinese, Russian companies show interest in Kazakhstan’s Eurasia project

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U.S., Chinese and Russian companies show interest in the Eurasia project on exploration of deep horizons of the Caspian depression, president of the Society of Petroleum Geologists of Kazakhstan Baltabek Kuandikov. READ MORE

Poland claims shared outlook on Ukraine with Germany

The European Union’s policy on Ukraine would be incomplete without Poland’s voice, the foreign minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday. READ MORE

Bulgaria Key Battleground in US-Russia Energy War

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By Mark Snowiss

As the U.S. wages a high-profile campaign against Russia over Ukraine, it is also battling Kremlin-dominance on another front - energy in Eastern Europe.  READ MORE

French Cassation Court approves Ablyazov's extradition

The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, thereby approving his extradition to either Russia or Ukraine. READ MORE

British claim to have cut EU charge false

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 The government of Prime Minister David Cameron claimed last year to have bartered down the sum, which had provoked angry responses from politicians after it was requested by Brussels because Britain's economy had performed better than expected. READ MORE

Lithuania signs US deal to replace Russian gas

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Lithuania said Saturday it had signed a trade agreement to buy liquified natural gas from the United States in a move aimed at reducing the EU Baltic state's heavy dependence on Russian gas deliveries. READ MORE

Mogherini: EU not to cancel sanctions against Russia in March

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The head of the EU diplomacy has admitted that she does not know whether to expect a constructive dialogue with Russia on Ukraine.  READ MORE

Astana Ready to Host Next Regional Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor General, told the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism that Astana is ready to host a regional follow-up summit later this year. READ MORE

SMALL STEP FOR CHINA - GIANT LEAP FOR THE BALTICS?

More than two decades on from the Baltic states’ independence from the Soviet Union, relations with China are only just getting into their stride. TBT editor Richard Martyn-Hemphill and TBT reporter Etienne Morisseau look at what’s caused this holdup in the development of Sino-Baltic relations, and why everything could be about to change. READ MORE

EU urgently needs real energy union

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By Tomas Prouza

The past few months have shown the world in which we live is more dynamic and the challenges we face are more complex and demanding than we had imagined. READ MORE

Opinion: Greece and everybody else

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By Marcel Fürstenau

Germany's Bundestag approved extending the aid program for the EU's most complicated emergency case. But the Greek bailout is not just about money,. READ MORE

NATO Secretary General welcomes cooperation with the International Energy Agency

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to NATO on Tuesday (24 February 2015). Dr. Birol has just been named the next Executive Director of IEA. READ MORE

Why Greece needs Azerbaijani money?

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By Maksim Tsurkov

It seems that Greece’s relations with the euro are coming to an end. The main question for us is how this may be reflected on Azerbaijan? READ MORE

Presidential elections in Kazakhstan set for April 26

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President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on Wednesday that the early presidential elections in Kazakhstan are due to be held on April 26. READ MORE

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