Reconciliation

Hamas and Israel agree to Gaza ceasefire, says Hamas

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The Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip have said they reached an agreement with Israel to restore calm. DW It follows a day of deadly Israeli strikes after a soldier was killed along the border for the first time in years. The ceasefire agreement was reached early Saturday, a spokesman for Hamas said. “With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between (Israel) and Palestinian factions,” Fawzi Barhoum told the Reuters ... Read More »

Averting War in Gaza

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Israel and Hamas stand on the brink of another full-scale confrontation in Gaza. The only viable exit from the ongoing cycle of escalation is for international actors to use carrots and sticks to bring about intra-Palestinian reconciliation, thereby allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern the Gaza Strip. ICG What’s new?  What is new is that little is new: despite repeated claims that efforts are being made to address the situation in Gaza, Israel and Hamas once again are sliding ... Read More »

Building on Afghanistan’s Fleeting Ceasefire

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The end-of-Ramadan truce in Afghanistan was brief but encouraging, demonstrating that both Afghan government soldiers and the Taliban rank and file will respect ceasefire orders from above. ICG Both sides, alongside the U.S., should now seize the opportunity to edge closer to meaningful talks about peace. What’s new? The Afghan government, international forces, and Taliban insurgents all observed a temporary ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The truce was unprecedented in Afghanistan’s long war, brought a remarkable decline in violence ... Read More »

UN Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

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South Sudan has been at war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. AlJazeera The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, almost five years after a ruinous civil war in the country started. A United States-drafted resolution won the minimum nine votes needed, while six member states abstained, wary of voting for the measure amid regional attempts to revitalise the South Sudan peace… US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said ... Read More »

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

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Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. ICG Backed by international actors, the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a… What’s new? Peace talks with Colombia’s last guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), could be under threat after the election of Iván Duque as the new president. Tangible short-term results are essential to ensure negotiations continue when Duque… Why does ... Read More »

Justice for Cyprus: The Goal should be Freedom from Occupation

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Cyprus, a member state of the European Union, has been illegally occupied by Turkey since 1974. Turkey’s false excuse for its presence on the island is the “protection of Turkish Cypriots from Greek violence.” Uzay Bulut * H Fusion     However, in 2017, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş revealed the real reason behind Turkey’s control of Cyprus:  “There is this misinformation that Turkey is interested in Cyprus because there is a Turkish society there… Kyrenia Harbour Even if no Turks lived in Cyprus, ... Read More »

South Sudan: Confusion over power-sharing deal agreed to by president, rebel leader

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Talks to reach a power-sharing deal in South Sudan have ended with conflicting accounts. Some reports have stated that rebel leader Riek Machar has agreed to return to his position as vice president. DW South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar (photo) met for peace talks in Uganda on Saturday in an attempt to end a civil war that has gone on for more than four years. The discussions, mediated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Sudanese President ... Read More »

Eritrea and Ethiopia to re-establish diplomatic ties

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Eritrea and Ethiopia are to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties after long years of hostility. BBC Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaia Afwerki made the announcement during a landmark meeting in the latter’s capital Asmara. It is the first time the leaders from the two East African neighbours have met in almost 20 years. Relations were severed following a border dispute which killed tens of thousands of people in the late 1990s. A peace deal was signed ... Read More »

Active citizenship, a social contract, Islam and democracy in Egypt

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The Arab Spring that swept across North Africa in 2011 brought the promise of democracy within reach of millions of Egyptians. Nuraan Davids The Conversation But seven years later this promise hasn’t been fulfilled. That fledgling democracy is now akin to a military dictatorship, where any form of protest or assertion of autonomous thought is constrained. Since the heady days of the Arab Spring, Egypt has been riddled by political protests, labour strikes, and unprecedented violence in its Sinai Peninsula. ... Read More »

A Vietnam “Solution” to the Afghanistan War?

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The January 1973 agreement between North Vietnam and the United States can be applied to the present, stalemated situation in Afghanistan. John Mueller The National Interest Ιt was in 2010 that United States President Barack Obama  told an interviewer that he could easily imagine a situation in which “we ended up staying in Afghanistan for another five years, another eight years, another ten years. And we would do it not with clear intentions but rather just out of an inertia.” Last year, ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for Peace in South Sudan at the African Union Summit

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Talks between President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar in the Sudanese capital Khartoum offer the only, albeit slim, hope of a breakthrough in South Sudan’s brutal civil war. ICG African leaders should offer cautious support during the Nouakchott AU summit. On 27 June 2018, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar, the principal adversaries in South Sudan’s civil war, signed a Declaration of Agreement in Khartoum. The declaration does not resolve ... Read More »

Averting War in Northern Somalia

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A dispute between Puntland and Somaliland over the contested areas of Sool and Sanaag risks escalating into open war. ICG The UN, supported by states with influence on the two sides, should renew diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire and press both to enter negotiations. What’s new? The self-declared republic of Somaliland and Puntland, an autonomous Somali region, are engaged in a perilous standoff over long-contested areas Sool and Sanaag. After repeated deadly clashes since the… Why does it matter? ... Read More »

Point of No Return? Britain and the Elgin Marbles

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Britain’s ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures has caused controversy since they were first brought to London in the early 1800s. Ioannis D. Stefanidis History Today Keen to keep the Greeks onside, the debate became highly charged during the Second World War. Since they were first ‘acquired’ in 1816, Britain has never seriously considered returning the sculptures collectively known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’ to their place of origin. Successive governments have argued that they are better preserved and more accessible in ... Read More »

Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un Keep Meeting—Here’s Why

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China has been successful at keeping North Korea close and leveraging the relationship to achieve its own overarching goals beyond denuclearization. Oriana Skylar Mastro The National Interest North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his third visit to China in mid-June. The fact that Kim visited Beijing shortly after the Singapore summit was unsurprising—it was expected that Kim would have to debrief Xi and the two would want to strategize ways forward. But the predictability of the visit does not diminish ... Read More »

Poor but Proud

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The next meeting of the European Council, set to take place on June 28, 2018, promises a certain level of intrigue. Elena Alekseenkova RIAC One reason for this is the expectation that the new Italian government, formed on the basis of the March 4 elections after 80 days of coalition talks and conflict between the president and parliament, will present an ultimatum to Brussels. The ultimatum is expected to include the following points: 1) The cancellation of Italy’s €250-billion debt ... Read More »

Ethiopia’s Ginbot 7 opposition movement suspends armed resistance

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An Ethiopian rebel group has suspended its armed resistance against the government. BBC Ginbot 7 said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reforms had given it hope that “genuine democracy” may be “a real possibility”. Earlier, the government said it had unblocked 264 websites and TV channels. This is the latest of numerous changes made since Mr Abiy came to office in April, relaxing the state’s previously tight grip on… Ginbot 7, which is based in neighbouring Eritrea, had been designated a… ... Read More »