Sigmar Gabriel: Post-Brexit Britain can be model for Turkey and Ukraine

epa06396772 German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaks during a joint media statement with Regional Kurdistan Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (not in picture) prior to their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 18 December 2017. Gabriel and Barzani met for bilateral talks.  EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

The German foreign minister says: ‘We have to think about alternative forms of closer cooperation’ if full EU membership isn’t an option. By SAIM SAEED Politico The U.K.’s eventual Brexit deal could serve as a model for EU relations with Turkey and Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview published Tuesday. Speaking to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Gabriel said: “If we can get a smart deal with Britain that governs relations with Europe after Brexit, it could be ... Read More »

How Putin became a problem for Russian oligarchs

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On December 21, Russian President Vladimir Putinmet with Russian oligarchs at the Kremlin. Roman Dobrokhotov AlJazeera Тhe men in attendance had a combined wealth of $213bn, almost as much as the Russian federal budget. So it was no wonder Putin wanted to meet them and assure their loyalty, especially before the presidential elections next year (even if they will be just a formality). Until recently, such meetings used to happen once a year, but this one was the third in 2017. So why all this enthusiasm ... Read More »

Egypt denies Russian mediation to restore ties with Turkey

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CAIRO – 24 December 2017: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denied speculations about Russian mediation between Egypt and Turkey, stressing that the Egyptian and Turkish people have many things in common. Nawal Sayed  Egypt Today “Egypt hopes to overcome tensions with Turkey on bases of respect of countries’ sovereignty without interfering into each other’s domestic affairs,” Shoukry told Akhbar al-Youm newspaper on Saturday. Shoukry’s statements come amid several denials made by Egyptian officials, while Turkish officials have reaffirmed hopes to ... Read More »

Ukraine: Will the Centre Hold?

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Far from the deadly battle against Kremlin-backed separatists in its eastern provinces, Kyiv faces a groundswell of resentment and disenfranchisement among citizens in the country’s west. ICG To restore faith in the state’s laws and institutions, the government must address endemic corruption to win back those in the state’s margins. What’s the issue? While the war in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas rumbles on, the regions of Polissya and Zakarpattya in the country’s west are corroded by systemic state corruption. ... Read More »

PA looks to Russia, China, to upstage United States

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas has said repeatedly that the US has forfeited its role as a mediator due to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. BEN LYNFIELD JPost Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched delegations to Moscow and Beijing on Tuesday, as part of efforts to find new sponsorship for the peace process, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The move came as Ahmad Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member who is leading the delegation to China, ruled ... Read More »

The reconfiguration of the New Syria

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Whatever happens, the New Syria which is currently reshaping will be the breaking point that will give rise to the new Middle East from which, however, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and even the United States will no longer be excluded or marginalized. Giancarlo Elia Valori Modern Diplomacy Those who currently think of a repetition of the Cold War on the banks of the Euphrates are badly mistaken. Russia does not want the US expulsion from the ... Read More »

Pushkin’s pride: how the Russian literary giant paid tribute to his African ancestry

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His black great-grandfather was abducted as a child and raised in Peter the Great’s court. A new Pushkin translation includes the little-known history of Russia’s Shakespeare Jonathan McAloon The Guardian For Russians, Alexander Pushkin inhabits a space beyond taste, where nationalism has given subjective art the patina of fact. He is the undisputed father of their literature in the way Shakespeare is for Brits. Given the insular nature of contemporary Russian politics, it might be hard to imagine that the creator of ... Read More »

Why justice is more important than the rule of law

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The 2017 Stress in America survey has confirmed it: Americans are officially freaking out.   Klaus Mladek The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, reports that what keeps many Americans up at night is genuine political anxiety. The Conversation Rather than issues related to their work or families, respondents said they were most worried about the “future of the nation” and the “current social divisiveness.” Almost two-thirds of Americans think the nation is going through “the lowest point” in its history. ... Read More »

Georgia Still on the World Bank’s Mind

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As the World Bank racks up 25 years in Georgia, Mercy Tembon, the bank’s regional director for the South Caucasus, Europe and Central Asia tells Andrew Wrobel that her organisation is as committed to the country’s future as ever. Andrew Wrobel Emerging-Europe Let’s start with the anniversary. What has the World Bank been doing here for the last quarter of a century? Yes, Georgia, along with the other countries in the region, joined the bank in 1992. Those were very ... Read More »

Rethinking Russia’s Return to Global Big Policy

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In the first decade of 21st century Russia managed to get out of the economic crisis, restore its military strength, and take course to become a sovereign political pole. Mher D. Sahakyan Modern Diplomacy To understand the entire scope of Russia’s reaction to difficult foreign challenges and to analyze its probable steps, it is important to investigate its foreign policy strategy. On November 30, 2016, the Kremlin adopted the “Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” (Concept), which was signed ... Read More »

Can Peacekeepers Break the Deadlock in Ukraine?

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Implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement remains deadlocked Russia’s first proposal of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions cannot work, but it opens a much-needed window for diplomacy. ICG What’s the issue? In September 2017, Moscow proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line dividing Ukrainian from separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Such a mission would not help end the conflict. To do that, peacekeepers would need a greater role, including helping secure the Ukraine-Russia ... Read More »

US national security adviser: Qatar and Turkey are new sponsors of radical ideology 

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General HR McMaster attributed the rise of the Justice and Development party in Ankara to Turkey’s growing problems with the West Joyce Karam The National US national security adviser HR McMaster condemned Qatar and Turkey for taking on a “new role” as the main sponsors and sourcesof funding for extremist Islamist ideology that targets western interests. “Radical Islamist ideology isa grave threat to all civilised people,” Gen McMaster said. The US national security adviser said this threat has been identified “myopically” ... Read More »

The Arctic – The Arctic Russia’s plan for the world’s newest ocean

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There’s a new ocean at the top of our globe In just the past three decades, global warming has shrunk the size of the Arctic Ocean’s summer ice by half. Vox The region is now more accessible than it’s been in 1,000 years, and governments around the world have taken notice. The melting of the Arctic has grave implications for global weather patterns and rising sea levels, and most of the world sees it as a looming disaster. But for ... Read More »

What Putin Really Wants

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Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius He’s really just a gambler who won big. Julia Ioffe The Atlantic I. The Hack The large, sunny room at Volgograd State University smelled like its contents: 45 college students, all but one of them male, hunched over keyboards, whispering and quietly clacking away among empty cans of Juicy energy drink.“It looks like they’re just picking at their screens, but the battle is intense,” Victor Minin said as we ... Read More »

A confident and upbeat Putin goes on Mideast ‘victory’ tour

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Ρussian President Vladimir Putin declared “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit Monday to a military base there, then traveled to Egypt and Turkey, where he celebrated Moscow’s deepening ties with those key regional powers. Hamza Hendawi and Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press Chicago Tribune The tour highlighted Russia’s expanded reach in the Middle East and the global clout of its leader, who announced last week he is seeking re-election for another six-year term in March. Speaking to Russian troops on ... Read More »

Russia’s multilayered Syrian diplomacy worries Iran

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TEHRAN, Iran — The Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, widely known for its tourist attractions, has recently turned into a diplomatic hub, with dialogue over the Syrian crisis now serving as its main international attraction. Hamidreza Azizi  AlMonitor On Nov. 22, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey attended a trilateral summit in Sochi to coordinate their efforts on the future of Syria. Just a day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in the resort, with his warm welcome ... Read More »