31 Jan 2020

Status of relations between PRISTINA and BELGRADE


In 1999, NATO intervened to stop the conflict between the two countries,  after claiming more than 10,000 lives and leaving more than 1 million people homeless. Kosovo's independence, declared in 2008, has not been recognized by Belgrade, Russia, and five EU nations. The United States and more than 110 other countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence. Brussels started mediation in 2011 amid strained relations between Pristina and Belgrade.
During his first visit to Kosovo on January 30, in 2020,  Borrell, the European Union's chief diplomat, continued the EU's policy of mediation, which has sought to bring the two countries back to the negotiation table after talks broke down in November 2018 when Pristina imposed a 100-percent tax on Serbian goods over Belgrade’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Josep Borrell, has emphasized the need for bilateral dialogue to resume between Serbia and Kosovo, saying it was the most effective way for them to mend ties. "My duty, my task, my endeavor, my objective, is to accompany, facilitate the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo," Borrell said, after meeting with Kosovar President Hashim Thaci. "Because the problem can only be solved by Serbia and Kosovo…and the result can only come from an agreement between the two of them". "There is no other solution." Borrell said.



Deterrence and nuclear proliferation


On 7 September, the UN General Assembly in New York, with 122 votes in favour (out of 192), one against and one abstaining, approved the "Treaty of The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons", making atomic weapons illegal, in the same way as other weapons of nuclear weapons. mass destruction. The Netherlands, the only NATO nation present at the summit, voted against it. The five nations recognized by the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the US, Russia, France, Britain and China and the four unofficial ones: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea did not participate in the work in New York, as well as their allies, including Italy and other European countries. The Treaty mentioned above is a compromise aimed at limiting the construction of new devices and easing existing arsenals, while allowing member countries to withdraw if 'extraordinary events related to the subject of the Treaty have compromised them' interest,( art 12)'. This last clause, and the non-participation of NATO countries and those in possession of the weapons in question, make much of its effectiveness lost even before the Treaty was ratified.






12 Apr 2019

A new cold war is upon us in the Arctic?

In August 2007, a pair of Russian submarines dropped to 14,000 feet at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and planted a titanium flag at the North Pole. The fact, transmitted by the media throughout the world, obtained an immediate and strong condemnation in the West despite it had no legal weight. But 12 years later the Russian move is easier to understand. The 2007 was one of the hottest year and the summer artic ice pack was reduced to the lowest levels ever recorded. The frozen polar sea seemed to melt and Russia, in this move, was claiming whatever lay beneath the mud.
In the decade following that shock event, the Arctic underwent a major transformation, due to rising temperatures and attracted international attention. The countries with the Arctic territory and some nations without polar boundaries, have worked hard to take advantage of the last frontier of the Earth, through access to the rich deposits of the region of fish, gas, oil and other mineral resources.
Now the race for the conquest of the new world is underway. The Russian fleet with about 61 ships and another 10 under construction with icebreakers is the largest in the world. The Norwegian fleet has increased its capacity from 5 to 11 ships. South Korean shipyards are engaged in the construction of ice-breaking merchant ships and China has invested billions in Russia's liquid natural gas network.
Other Arctic nations, including the United States, Canada and Denmark, pay much less attention to their northern territories
The imbalance in the approaches to Arctic resources worries some observers who describe the polar cap as a cold theater in which nations will confront each other in the next Cold War.
In August 2018, NATO conducted an exercise in Norway, called Trident Juncture, with the participation of 50,000 soldiers from 31 nations. The huge operation provided a scenario in which northern Norway was invaded by enemy forces, prompting the Allies to run in its defense. Although the enemy has never been named, Norway shares the Arctic and maritime borders with Russia and tensions between the two nations have increased in recent years. Some observers fear that future disputes between neighbors about fishing or mineral rights could bring NATO into a conflict for which it is unprepared.



14 Jul 2015

Iran USA agreement on nuclear capability



Iran and a group of six nations, led by the United States, said they had reached a historic accord, on Tuesday 14th July 2015, to significantly limit Tehran’s nuclear ability, for more than a decade, in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.
The deal culminates 20 months of negotiations on an agreement that President Obama had long sought as the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency. Whether it portends a new relationship between the United States and Iran — after decades of coups, hostage-taking, terrorism and sanctions — remains a bigger question.
Mr. Obama, in an early morning appearance at the White House that was broadcast live in Iran, began what promised to be an arduous effort to sell the deal to Congress and the American public, saying the agreement is “not built on trust — it is built on verification.”
As soon as the agreement was announced,  in Vienna and on the streets of Tehran, its harshest critics said it would ultimately empower Iran rather than limit its capability. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called it a “historic mistake” that would create a “terrorist nuclear superpower.”
American officials said the core of the agreement, secured in 18 consecutive days of talks, lies in the restrictions on the amount of nuclear fuel that Iran can keep for the next 15 years. The current stockpile of low enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, most likely by shipping much of it to Russia. That limit, combined with a two-thirds reduction in the number of its centrifuges, would extend to a year the amount of time it would take Iran to make enough material for a single bomb should it abandon the accord and race for a weapon — what officials call “breakout time.” By comparison, analysts say Iran now has a breakout time of two to three months.
Compared with many past efforts to slow a nation’s nuclear programs,  including a deal struck with North Korea 20 years ago,  this agreement is remarkably specific. Mr. Kerry said he had insisted it must be “airtight.” But some mysteries remain. For example, it is not clear whether the inspectors would be able to interview the scientists and engineers who were believed to have been at the center of an effort by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to design a weapon that Iran could manufacture in short order.

18 Jun 2015

Croatian and Slovenian dispute over Adriatic sea

On 6 June 2010 referendum Slovenian voters have backed an agreement with Croatia to settle a long-standing border dispute between the two countries through international arbitration.
The agreement, under which the dispute over the maritime border in the Adriatic Sea is to be solved by an EU-led arbitration panel, won the support of 51.5 per cent of voters
The two countries have been at loggerheads over their maritime border in Piran Bay, and over small terrestrial border disputes, since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.
Slovenia has claimed that the dispute was preventing its ships from gaining free access to the Adriatic.The dispute over the maritime border in the Adriatic Sea has in the past prompted Ljubljana to block Zagreb’s accession talks with the European Union, fueling tensions between the two neighboring countries which have no history of past conflict.
The deadlock was broken last November when Pahor and Kosor agreed to allow international arbitration settle the matter.
But while both the Croatian and Slovenian parliaments approved the agreement reached between the two leaders, the Slovenian government decided to give the public the final say.
The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso described Slovenian voters’ decision to support the deal as “an important step forward” for the Balkan region.
"This is an important step forward. I very much welcome the support that the Slovenian people have given in the referendum on the Border Arbitration Agreement signed by the governments of Slovenia and Croatia," Barroso said in a statement. He added that he was looking forward to a final settlement of the dispute which would represent "an important signal for the region and the relations between Slovenia and Croatia."

14 Jun 2015

Libya political and diplomatic crisis situation

In 2011, the world once again turned against the Libyan government over its use of violence against the popular uprising against the Colonel, inspired by the anti-authoritarian protests sweeping through the Arab world.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution authorising Nato air strikes to protect civilians. After months of near-stalemate, the rebels stormed into Tripoli in August 2011, and several weeks later Col Gaddafi was killed when his last holdout was overrun.
A transitional government took charge and had the challenge of imposing order, disbanding the former rebel forces, rebuilding the economy, creating functioning institutions and managing the pledged transition to democracy and the rule of law.
Elections for a General National Congress were held in July 2012, the country's first free national election in six decades. The congress appointed a prime minister, Ali Zeidan, in October, who formed an interim government tasked with preparing the ground for a new constitution and fresh parliamentary elections.
However, tensions between nationalists and Islamists have stymied attempts to produce a stable government, and in 2014 the country was riven by fighting between rival militias. Central government collapsed, and the United Nations has struggled to bring political factions together.

22 Mar 2014

Can astronauts survive in space with diplomatic tensions between US and RUSSIA?



While the United States and Russia traded sanctions this week ( 22 March 2014) in a burgeoning crisis over Crimea, astronauts from both nations rose above the discord in their sanctuary hundreds of miles from Earth.
Experts say mounting political and economic tensions between the old Cold War foes are unlikely to upset cooperation in space at the moment.  But  is something which   would be damaging to both sides.
Not that talking politics is taboo aboard the International  Space Station (ISS), where Americans and Russians share close quarters, orbiting at an altitude of 248 miles (400 kilometers) over the Earth.
"We could talk about anything. We'd talk about politics," said retired US astronaut Leroy  Chiao, who commanded the ISS for six months in 2004 and 2005.
"With something like this going on, I am sure the crew is talking about it, you know, in a friendly way."
American astronaut Mike Hopkins, upon returning from the ISS earlier this month after a half-year stay, said he considered his Russian counterparts "close friends" and described cooperation as "very strong."  But the real conditions  to live up there is not easy.
"It is like a divorced couple trying to live in the same house," he said. They both own the house. They both operate the house." ( AFP 22 Mar 2012)


24 Jul 2013

KOSOVO SECURITY FORCE ROLE

Today, some 5,000 troops from the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), provided by 31 countries (23 NATO and eight KFOR partners) continue to contribute towards maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin.
Following the unilateral declaration of independence on 17 February 2008, the Alliance reaffirmed that KFOR shall remain in Kosovo on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244, unless the United Nations Security Council decides otherwise. In June 2008, NATO agreed to take on new tasks in Kosovo. These new tasks included the standing down of the Kosovo Protection Corps and the creation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) as an all-crisis voluntary, professional, multi-ethnic, lightly armed force with a mandate encompassing crisis response, assistance to civil authorities in responding to natural and other disasters and emergencies, explosive ordinance disposal and civil protection. These tasks, together with KFOR’s overall mandate, have not been affected by the ruling of the International Court of Justice on 22 July 2010: the advisory opinion of the Court on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence is that it did not violate international law, nor UNSCR 1244.
Throughout Kosovo, and bearing in mind its operational mandate, KFOR is cooperating with and assisting the UN, the EU and other international actors, as appropriate, to support the development of a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo.  In April 2013, Belgrade and Pristina reached an Agreement on Normalisation, which will help to improve relations between both parties while giving new momentum to the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans. NATO and, in particular, KFOR will stand ready to support the implementation of this latest agreement to the best of their ability within their current mandate.