Diplomacy

Eamonn McCann: Why Chagos Islanders should be hailed as heroes

UN court finding may open the way for Chagos Islanders’ to return home The Irish Times In The Hague last month, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration found that the United Kingdom’s declaration in 2010 of a Marine Protection Area around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean was illegal. The decision endorsed the claim of the government of Mauritius that the UK did not have jurisdiction to make rulings relating to the status of the area. The finding ... Read More »

At the Hanoi summit, Trump and Kim Jong Un may declare the Korean War over. Does it still matter?

The signing took all of 10 minutes. Neither man uttered a word as they inked nine documents agreeing to halt more than three years of brutal fighting. Victoria Kim Los Angeles Times When it was done, the American and North Korean generals exchanged one long, cold stare before leaving the room. It was July 1953. U.S. 8th Army commander Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor reminded reporters the war wasn’t yet over. The cease-fire agreement was “just a suspension of hostilities, which ... Read More »

Ukraine’s crisis of faith

The Kiev-Kremlin conflict catalyzes a religious schism centuries in the making. Christopher Miller Politico VORSIVKA, Ukraine — For years, Father Vasily spent his Sundays behind the altar at St. Nicholas, a church in the small town of Vorsivka, in north-central Ukraine. That all changed in early January, not long after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church in one of the biggest schisms in Christian history. That’s when the village faithful held a vote to decide whether their ... Read More »

All Eyes on Tangible Results from U.S.-North Korea Summit

The North Korean and U.S. leaders enter their second summit under pressure to achieve concrete progress toward their respective goals, sanctions relief and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Crisis Group senior adviser Chris Green suggests risk reduction measures each side can take. What has happened since the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore? At the conclusion of the Singapore summit last June, the U.S. and North Korea issued a statement calling for a new bilateral relationship, a stable peninsular peace ... Read More »

Lessons from the Syrian State’s Return to the South

Russian mediation helped reduce bloodshed during the Assad regime’s reconquest of southern Syria. ICG But for similar arrangements to work in remaining rebel strongholds, better security guarantees by outside powers are needed to prevent regime reprisals, improve aid flows and, down the road, facilitate refugee return. What’s new? When the Syrian regime retook the south from rebels in mid-2018, Russian mediation limited the violence. Six months later, security and living conditions remain precarious; the regime has re-established authoritarian rule; and ... Read More »

The Conflict of Fener and Moscow Patriarchs about Church of Ukraine

Significant developments happened in the Orthodox world in the last autumn of last year. Arif Asalioglu POLITURCO Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Archbishop of the Independent Church of Ukraine established in Kiev, and his accompanying committee arrived in Istanbul in order to receive the “Tomos”, which recognizes the independence of the Church, from the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. Ceremonies, which were also attended by the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, were held for the occasion. And in those ceremonies, Ukraine officially obtained an ... Read More »

No-deal Brexit throws up really big calls on jobs, the rural economy and peace

Cliff Taylor: Government would need to embark on a major programme of assistance for the companies affected The Irish Times The Omnibus Bill on Brexit, published yesterday, is an important piece of work to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. But the big decisions lie elsewhere. How do we support the sectors worst hit? And what about the Border? There is an almost irresistible temptation among the political classes to reassure us that everything is ready, and it will all be alright ... Read More »

Are Freedom of Navigation Operations in East Asia Enough?

Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? James Holmes The National Interest The question is a hardy perennial among those who hold forth about maritime strategy in Asia: are “freedom of navigation” operations enough? Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? Answer: freedom-of-navigation operations are necessary but not ... Read More »

Saudi crown prince defends China’s use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman turned a blind eye to the plight of China’s Uighur Muslims when he met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 22. ANKARA – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The Uighur community both inside and outside China had expected bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, to raise the issue of China’s human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs. Instead, he… “We respect and support China’s right to take ... Read More »

Georgian leader revives French connection

Salomé Zourabichvili aims to bring country closer to EU and NATO, with help from her past life. Rym Momtaz Politico PARIS — Goodwill only gets you so far — even if you used to represent a country you’re asking for help. That’s the reality Georgia’s new President Salomé Zourabichvili had to contend with this week as the former French diplomat visited Paris to seek closer ties with the EU and NATO. Zourabichvili met President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday at the Elysée ... Read More »

UN experts condemn Indonesia’s use of live snakes to interrogate Papuans

Experts are calling on the Indonesian government to launch an investigation into the alleged excessive use of force by police and military in West Papua. SBS United Nations experts have called for “prompt and impartial investigations” into alleged inhumane treatment and killings of Indigenous Papuans by Indonesian police and military, including using a live snake as an interrogation method. Earlier this month, Indonesian police admitted officers terrorised a handcuffed Papuan man with a live snake after video of the incident surfaced online. The ... Read More »

High Noon over Humanitarian Aid at Venezuela’s Border

Venezuela’s constitutional crisis continues to unfold, with the opposition amassing food and medicine on the borders with the stated intent of turning the military against President Nicolás Maduro, who is refusing the aid. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Venezuela Phil Gunson explains the standoff. What happened? Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as the country’s interim president by dozens of countries including the U.S., has promised that on 23 February a… An aid concert, featuring a… High ... Read More »

New Zealand says refugee deal still on table as PM Morrison arrives for visit

New Zealand says an offer to resettle refugees from Nauru or Manus Island is still on the table, dismissing a report it won’t accept single male asylum seekers. AAP – SBS New Zealand has dismissed reports it refused to resettle single male asylum seekers in Australian offshore processing. Since 2013, New Zealand’s government has publicly offered to settle at least 150 refugees being held on Nauru or Manus Island, but has been rebuffed by successive Australian prime ministers, despite a ... Read More »

Julian Assange gets a new Australian passport

Fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport after lengthy negotiations over whether he was subject to an arrest warrant for a “serious foreign offence”. Richard Baker The Sydney Morning Herald A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that Mr Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. Consular and Crisis Management Division first assistant secretary Andrew Todd said, “Mr Assange does have an ... Read More »

US law recognizes Aegean treaty regime in Dodecanese

It was in 1920 that the United States first became seriously involved in issues arising from the Aegean treaty regime in the Dodecanese. Nicholas G. Karambelas ekathimerini In that year, the peace conference which culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 had been convened. The fate of the 12 Aegean islands commonly known as the Dodecanese was one of the issues which the peace conference debated. The US Senate passed a resolution which called on the peace conference to ... Read More »

Managing Ethiopia’s Unsettled Transition

Ethiopia’s charismatic new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has generated great excitement with initiatives breaking with the past. ICG But he faces challenges as formidable as his promises are bold: he urgently needs to halt communal strife, smooth the road to elections and boost the ailing economy. What’s new? Ethiopia’s new premier, Abiy Ahmed Ali, has made peace with Eritrea, extended a conciliatory hand to opponents, and promised moves to free and fair elections, expanded political space and economic reform. But ... Read More »