“We heat Europe and they are threatening to close the border. “It’s an attempt by an authoritarian regime in Belarus to destabilize its democratic neighbors. But Weafer argued that there is a subtle difference. Lukashenko’s threat over gas supplies comes as EU officials plan new sanctions as early as next week. We have also seen what happened during recent elections, attempts to influence the elections and then there were the cyberattacks as well and we also saw the huge volume of disinformation and now hybrid attacks which are exploiting migrants,” European Commission’s spokeswoman Dana Spinant told the midday briefing on November 11, quoting the European Commission President. “It would indeed (affect gas supplies) but Russia would be able to say, ‘We’re not doing it’ and allow pressure to build on Europe. Moreover, Belarus relies on lucrative gas transit fees for Russian gas to Europe. “It is a credible threat when you put it into context with other issues as well, with the issues over refugees, with the issues of Russia saber-rattling over Ukraine again, it’s actually creating a very nasty spike of aggressive heat in the area and the catalyst for that could easily be the gas supplies,” Urquhart Stewart told New Europe by phone on November 12. We’ve seen what’s going on. Weafer opined that it’s absolutely clear the Kremlin will act in defense of Belarus but the time it will act in defense of Lukashenko is fast coming to an end. In theory, the Kremlin wants to continue to ensure Belarus is a country it remains closely aligned with,” Weafer said. Von der Leyen said that it wasn’t a bilateral issue between these countries and Belarus, it was a question of the entire EU. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Putin on November 10 to intervene with Belarus over the migrant situation. “President Lukashenko would not dare to cut Russian gas transit to Europe without getting specific permission from the Kremlin to do so and he is not going to get that permission because Russia even in the Soviet times always positioned itself as a reliable supplier of gas and always delivers on contracts so in my opinion there is no credible scenario where the Kremlin would give him permission to block gas transit to Gazprom’s customers to Europe,” Chris Weafer, co-founder of Macro-Advisory in Moscow, told New Europe by phone on November 12. These methods which we are familiar with. “There is a temptation I believe on the part regime to add additional threats but President von der Leyen, after her meeting with President Biden, said quite clearly we are protecting our democracy against these cynical moves, geopolitical moves on our borders,” Spinant said. Low flows to Europe and reverse flows on the Yamal-Europe pipeline last week – meaning gas flowed eastwards into Poland instead of westbound into Germany – had worsened a supply squeeze in Europe that has driven up prices for industry and consumers, Reuters reported, adding that Russia started pumping gas to Germany again late on November 8, acting on an order by Putin to increase supplies to Europe and rebuild Russian inventories there once domestic storage tanks were replenished. So, he is the one that could be saying, ‘We’ll cut off the gas’ and Putin say, ‘It’s not me.’ But nevertheless, there is a Russian bear’s paw on the gas tap, it’s that the paw itself is covered with the flag of Belarus,” he argued. However, in recent years, Lukashenko has become a problem for the Kremlin with his actions, he added. But it’s unlikely Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has backed the authoritarian regime so far, would allow Belarus’ President to carry on with his threat to block Russia’s natural gas pipeline crossing Belarus. We have seen threats and what we are saying very clearly is that we are not going to allow ourselves to be intimidated. I would therefore advise Polish, Lithuanian and other harebrained leaders to think before speaking,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying. Merkel said Putin can influence the Belarussian regime and invited him to try to persuade the Belarussian authorities to stop this hybrid attack at EU’s borders which is no nobody interest. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden spoke about the situation about EU’s external border in Poland and Lithuania with Belarus. The transnational Yamal – Europe gas pipeline, which runs across Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany, has an annual capacity of 32.9 billion cubic meters, according to Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. And what would happen if we cut off the natural gas which goes there? Lukashenko’s comments came after Russia increased its flow of gas to Europe via Poland and Belarus as well as Ukraine on November 10. Regarding Lukashenko’s threat to disrupt gas supplies to Europe resulting in a further spike in gas prices, the EU Commission spokeswoman said, “This will be a new tool in the hybrid attack if that is added to the current situation. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Lukashenko would not dare cut gas supplies to EU without Kremlin’s permission

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

Minskaya CS at Yamal – Europe gas pipeline. follow on twitter @energyinsider The Kremlin appears to be a political and economic lifeline for Lukashenko. Because Lukashenko is acting as Putin’s puppet. On November 9, Gazprom said it had started to refill its European gas storage. GAZPROM

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to cut gas supplies to Europe transiting his country if the European Union imposed further sanctions in response to the migrant crisis created by Belarus at its border with Poland. Justin Urquhart Stewart, co-founder of Regionally in London, said there is a credible threat that Lukashenko could cut Russian gas supplies to Europe. “The Kremlin backs Belarus and it backs the Belarus elite. That’s all I can tell you about what we have seen yesterday and today on any potential action by the Belarussian regime using gas as a tool”.

Moscow said it was unacceptable for the EU to impose sanctions on Belarus over the crisis. Lukashenko said his country would have to respond if the EU imposed a new round of sanctions. Russia, Belarus’ lone ally in the crisis, sharply criticized the West for backing Poland’s handling of the migrants, with the Kremlin accusing Europe of failing to live up to its own humanitarian ideals and trying to “strangle” Belarus with plans to close part of the frontier. In recent months, the totalitarian government of Belarus has tried to manufacture a migrations crisis on the borders of Poland and Lithuania; Minsk’s response to Western sanctions after the country’s KGB violently sacked down on pro-democracy protests in August and September 2020, following a rigged election that handed the country’s long-serving dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, a new term in office. He later hinted that he would cut off gas supplies to Europe if new sanctions were imposed. In a strongly-worded statement, the West accused Belarus of using the migrants to destabilize the European Union’s eastern border. Western members of the UN Security Council have condemned Belarus for the escalating crisis. The European Union, which has repeatedly sanctioned Belarus for human rights abuses, has accused Minsk of drawing in migrants from war-torn and impoverished countries and then pushing them into Poland. On November 10, the European Union accused Belarus of mounting a “hybrid attack” by pushing migrants across the border into Poland. In recent years, however, countries such as Turkey, and now the former Soviet republic of Belarus, have taken this concept to a new level – the weaponization of poor and under-educated and unskilled refugees from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, most of whom are fleeing their homes in the hope of finding a better life in Europe. These migrants, which were allegedly lured to Belarus with a false promise of free passage by unsanctioned “travel agencies” in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa have found themselves in the Belarus of Lukashenko, a man who has no intention of allowing the refugees to stay, but he is more than willing to assist them in violating Poland and the EU’s borders by sparking a migrant crisis. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border

By New Europe
The European political newspaper

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

Using human lives to blackmail the governments of rival nations is as old as human civilization.

The bellicose, destabilizing forces come from Iran and the Armenian diaspora, the most vocal and militant parts of which are working with Iran to provoke a new and catastrophic war. Iran is playing the “Armenia card” against Turkey, but this ends up being also against Russia and is not in Russia’s national interest. Executives of Iranian military companies have increased their visits to Armenia. It is a time of great opportunity and great danger. The former chief advisor to Armenia’s president Levon Ter-Petrosyan in the 1990s, Jirair Libaridian has warned about how the Armenian diaspora’s mythomania and territorial claims about “Greater Armenia” may lead to the demise of Armenia as it exists today. It makes sense that Iran, which is perpetually more or less hostile to Azerbaijan, finds common cause with the maximalist Armenian diaspora, which by all appearances wishes to prepare a Third Karabakh War against Azerbaijan. The more Armenian diaspora is more than actively involved in the lobbying for Iranian interests, and not only in Yerevan. In particular, Iran has moved from covert support of Armenia to overt support of Armenia. Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

One year after the end of the Second Karabakh War, the landscape in the South Caucasus has changed: both politically and physically. Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh. The victory of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan in the snap parliamentary elections in June this year was extraordinary, insofar as he had been head of the government during the Second Karabakh War, which was for Armenia a catastrophic loss. Diplomatic communications have intensified. Indeed, the only country that may have the financial means to invest in Armenia for peaceful purposes would seem to be Azerbaijan. Attendees at the opening ceremony included representatives from such Iranian laser- and communications-system and drone manufacturers as Rayan Roshd, Eskay Rayter, Radin, and Azer Partu Spadana. In January, an Iranian Export and Investment Centre was established in Yerevan. The “war party” in Yerevan has been recruiting and even finding new external allies, beyond its long reliance on the Armenian diaspora for international publicity and financial support. If we would suppose (1) that Russia has more than half-succeeded in drawing Georgia back into its own sphere of influence under Bidzina Ivanishvili’s political hegemony in Tbilisi, and (2) that Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War represents an insertion of Turkish influence into the South Caucasus, then we would could say (3) that Iran is now trying harder than ever to assert itself overtly in the South caucuses through the instrument of Armenian military-industrial complex. It is why the Tsar fought five wars against Persia in the early nineteenth century! Against all expectations, the leadership in Baku is moving with great speed to develop the de-occupied territories. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The Second Karabakh War, one year later

By Robert M. Following the state’s re-establishment of the integrity of most of its territory, the possibility is opened up—for the first time in nearly two generations—that peace and prosperity may come to the whole South Caucasus through regional cooperation. Armenia can still be saved from becoming a failed state, but forces are working against it. It needs investment, and for that, it needs a formal peace treaty. Armenia has the opportunity to leave behind the failed policies of the “Karabakh clan” that impoverished the country for two decades. This is why a peace treaty finally settling the Karabakh Wars, including the mutual delimitation of international borders and recognition of territorial integrity, is imperative the soonest possible. Highways have been constructed linking them with the eastern part of the country. Cutler
Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Such a development is, however, still far from a sure thing. These forces are not from Azerbaijan, because a prosperous, truly democratic Armenia can only contribute to international security in the whole South Caucasus, including Azerbaijan. The population outside Yerevan is migrating out of the country. Let me explain this with an over-simplification from the standpoint of the regional power balance, in which there is nevertheless an important kernel of truth. A relatively stable and, at least, not-impoverished Armenia under Russian influence is more to Moscow’s advantage than an unstable Armenia under increased IRGC influence. This would be a disastrous development for Armenians in Armenia, for the whole of the South Caucasus, indeed also for Turkey and even for Russia. The formerly occupied regions are becoming a generator of economic growth for Azerbaijan. The Armenian economy has collapsed. One might say that a struggle has thus started for the soul of Armenia, and that its result will have implications for the entire south Caucasus and beyond. Rather, they see their own narrow interest in grandstanding from a distance, without caring about Armenian lives in Armenia; and so they assist Iran: against the interests of Russia, the interests of Turkey, and indeed the interests of the European Union which seeks only a stable and prosperous neighborhood in the South Caucasus. The Armenian diaspora has been one of the strongest elements of the “war party” in Yerevan over the past three decades and, living abroad, it does not have to suffer the effects of the disastrous policies that it advocates.  
In a nutshell: Iran has every reason to seek to turn Armenia into a failed state, like Lebanon, in order to push its own interests in South Caucasus. One international airport has already opened, and two more are under construction. A relatively stable Armenia—even one with a truly democratic civil society—would be more in Russia’s interest than an unstable Armenia with increased influence from Iran’s terrorist and terrorist-sponsoring Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Armenian diaspora could assist greatly with foreign direct investment into Armenia for real economic and social prosperity, but they do not do this.

As had I. But we do know how things too often play out in the Ukrainian media landscape. The brand is nothing without its team. Some journalists are now investigating whether the closure was ordered from above. It’s easy to overestimate one’s importance and I intended to tone it down. Kivan ordered for the paper to cease publishing immediately and fire everyone. I don’t doubt that any of our journalists can quickly find gainful employment at other media hungry for their talent. It also gave me good friends. Tension had been building around Kivan’s proposed expansion concept for the Kyiv Post. We had to save the Kyiv Post or at least its spirit. Even the death of a relatively small publication like the Kyiv Post makes independent media poorer, investigations less frequent, checks to power more dilute. Diplomats and the diaspora watch our political coverage. But, to use a cliche, when the team and the brand are together, they are both greater than the sum of their parts. Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

When I returned to Ukraine to work for the Kyiv Post, I had a vague plan to stay for three years. My colleagues’ faces weren’t so much crestfallen as determined. He once told the newsroom that “silence is golden,” which was a bit like telling a roomful of doctors “why save people?”
But we have always been this way and Kivan knew it when he bought us. Several weeks later, we were all fired. But that decision isn’t ours. So far, the owner doesn’t want to sell. Two years of combing through the city of my birth as a journalist eroded these plans. I think we all knew something bad was coming, even though nobody predicted it would be this drastic. Media outlets from around the globe, NGOs, embassies, business leaders, endowments, international organizations, law firms and many many people all reached out, offering their support to help keep us going. Closing the paper and relaunching it with a more compliant staff will make it a hollow shell of its former self, as has happened to Ukrainian media in the past. As my third year approached its end, I, now a news editor, knew I’d be staying. This is exactly why it’s important to keep the Kyiv Post around in its current form: independent. This is why separating them would be a huge mistake. Many foreign media look to us to understand the country. We stayed troublesome because our owner, to his credit, largely remained hands-off. What we took a stand against was the appointment of a deputy chief editor from Kivan’s pet television channel in Odessa, who had never worked in independent media before. Parts of it just seemed impractical, like the TV studio or the separate Ukrainian section, which the Kyiv Post has already failed to implement once. But the team is also made stronger by the brand. Regardless, we had resolved to make it work. Other high-ranking officials have been censured for talking to us. But it couldn’t have always been easy. They looked like they had already decided to fight. More than that, the Kyiv Post has helped develop numerous prominent journalists, including Vitaly Sych, Chris Miller, Nathan Hodge, James Marson, Katya Gorchinskaya and Josh Kovensky, among many others. In one of my earlier publications, the different language sections presented significant logistical problems. Under a previous owner, Bonner was once fired for refusing to pull a critical story when pressured; a staff strike brought him back. And just like that, Ukraine’s English voice for 26 years was gone. The business section is read by the business world’s movers and shakers, foreign investors and international financial organizations. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Why it’s important to save the independent Kyiv Post

By Igor Kossov
An American journalist and former editor at the Kyiv Post. We don’t know.  
But the Kyiv Post is so much more than investigations. One day, he intended to “reboot” the Kyiv Post under new management. But the massive outpouring of support in the 48 hours after we posted our statement convinced me otherwise. The lifestyle section dazzles with culture, art and fashion, bringing locals and foreigners closer together. But even if separation is inevitable, at least we can preserve the team. That hasn’t changed. To a businessman trying to make it big in Ukraine, we are perhaps more trouble than we’re worth. We hope Kivan, a professed opponent of autocracies, who once said that independent press is key to democracy, changes his mind and does the best thing for the Kyiv Post by selling it to a good buyer. In the past two years, our coverage got us chewed out by a member of the president’s administration and threatened with a lawsuit by a very high-ranking official. We’ve received word from multiple interested buyers, some more suitable than others. The Kyiv Post has helped me take on a national bank, two powerful oligarchs and their empires. I looked around the newsroom when he said it. People like them help project the country’s voice internationally and grow Ukraine’s journalist corps, as talented newcomers coalesce around them. He had complained on several occasions that our investigations were damaging. This channel lacks a commercial department and advertising, whose presence in media Kivan seems to regard with contempt. This is why it was such a gut punch when, on the morning of November 8, the Post’s editor-in-chief, Brian Bonner, gathered us all and solemnly told us that the owner, Adnan Kivan, an Odessa-based; Syrian-born construction oligarch, was pulling the plug. Multiple presidential administrations and powerful people have tried to co-opt or bully the Kyiv Post.

Your opinion does not matter. Your free speech, if critical of Islam, is now hate speech. Trans-women are now considered ‘real women’, and freedom is in mandated headwear. It is, however, quite true. It is the silver bullet of public debate, an instant knockout against there is no defence. But ‘freedom in a hijab’ is a little harder to swallow. France’s Muslim population has grown rapidly over the last two decades reaching an estimated 3.35 million people, roughly 5% of the total population. There’s nothing surprising about the logos of the EU and European Council being on this, as both have been doing their utmost to convince Europeans that Islam is, in fact, perfectly fine, and possibly even better than anything that the continent has seen before. This has certainly been the case with assorted friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. What is slightly perplexing, though, are the other two labels: ‘We Can for human rights speech’ (which I object to purely on grammatical terms) and ‘No Hate’. I’ve noticed – and I suspect that you have, too – a trend in any criticism of anything to do with minorities being branded as ‘hate’. I simply do not make the grievous error of confusing Europe with the European Union. My grammatical problems with this aside, I think it is of the utmost importance to stress that ‘human rights speech’ is not the same as ‘freedom of speech’. The Orwellian ability of the European Left to hold conflicting ideas over support for mass immigration from Islamic countries, while championing LGBT rights and feminist causes is simply staggering. What is pushing people to the political extreme is the same as what drove people to the original Nazi Party – desperation. At the bottom are four logos for the European Union, European Council, something called ‘We Can for human rights speech’, and another which is a simple heart in which ‘No Hate’ is written. Incidentally, I’ve heard the left-wing and apologist arguments for this. ‘Human rights speech’ – it seems to me, at any rate – is whatever the political Left and its Islamist allies approve of. The rise of these groups, then, is not because the truly vile of the far-right have suddenly been able to convert masses of the population to their cause. Of course, those who make an accusation of that kind are probably aware (though I wouldn’t be prepared to bet on it) that by branding criticism of Islam as ‘hate’ they then don’t have to answer any questions over the rights of Muslims and the LGBT community in the Muslim world. It is, after all, not the EU that made Europe the greatest continent on the planet. There is rather a lot to unpack here. But I suppose that’s the world we live in now – we have long since gone through the looking-glass.  
I do not want to see Europe descend into another bout of fascism. Well, incredibly. ‘Beauty is in diversity’ – well, no arguments here. It shows a smiling woman of African origin alongside the captions ‘Beauty is in diversity as freedom is in a hijab’ and ‘How boring would it be if everyone looks the same? Couple this with the much-publicised sexual assault cases against German and Swedish women by migrants, and the fact that the European authorities are not just saying that everything is absolutely fine, but that you must – must – respect Islam and all of its accompanying aspects, then where do you go? The histories, cultures, and philosophies of our home far surpass those of anywhere else, and collectively have given birth to the best societies in the world today. Exactly how it is empowering has never been adequately explained. This, I’m sure, is quite deliberate. This is where we begin to swim into murky waters. Your argument is declared null and void because it is coming from a place of alleged prejudice. ‘How boring would it be if everyone looks the same?’. Welcome to the 21st-century Western world. But I don’t see that the way to stop everyone from looking the same is to have them all wear the same type of headscarf. They usually run along the lines of ‘The hijab is empowering to women’. I shall begin with a picture sitting on my desktop. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The EU and the hijab

By Timothy Ogden
A UK-based freelance journalist focusing on defence matters

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

Given my relentless, savage, repetitive and – if I may say so – eminently fair criticism of the European Union, I could easily forgive my readers for being sceptical when I claim to be a Europhile. You might also note that the picture contains the phrase ‘for human rights speech’. Do you also think that the unsaid part of that statement is ‘or else’? ‘Hate’, too, is also being used against those who have endorsed ‘far-right’ political movements across the continent. Of course, inevitably there will be a few true neo-Nazis, but they have been skulking in political and social shadows since the Second World War, and hitherto have never made any substantial political impact. Indeed, that argument seems to be so existentially redundant that we’ve moved on from ‘The hijab is empowering’ to ‘freedom is in a hijab’. But it will only be stopped by honesty, an end to European hypocrisy, and some frank conversations about what is – and what is not – compatible with our deeply-rooted traditions of liberal Western democracy. Yet anger is the usual port of call for the zealot who dare not examine their own beliefs. I hope, then, that you will allow me to explain why I am in mortal terror for the dear old place. The fact that far-right factions are on the rise in Europe is not because the Italians, Germans and French have suddenly thought that Hitler and Mussolini were, in fact, jolly good chaps who had the right sort of notions for the world. If you are a European who has, in the short space of less than 20 years, seen a surge in numbers of a separate population in your country – within which a minority have committed terrorist attacks in the name of their shared religion – that does not respect your language, your culture, your history, your social norms, your sense of constitutional justice and rule-of-law, as well as your traditions; well, you are going to be somewhat sceptical of the ‘peaceful inclusiveness’ of Islam. The idea that I – someone who is as proud possible to be of Britain’s history without being indecent – could harbour such love for the continent might be a little hard to believe. I also take issue with the next stanza. Apparently not: ‘Celebrate diversity – respect the hijab’. Case closed? A Muslim woman walks through the streets of Paris. I don’t see how there’s much freedom in a garment that women are often forced to wear (I did say often, not always, before you type out a thunderous denunciation), by social pressure in the West from their families and communities and by law in some countries whose law is taken from the Koran. Celebrate diversity – respect the hijab’.

It charts a course to make adaptation efforts smarter, swifter and more systemic in the years ahead, and also aims to significantly step up international action on adaptation. The contribution will be made in a way that is compatible with EU financial rules. International public climate finance plays an important role in helping developing countries to implement the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. EUROPEAN UNION, 2021/EC – AUDIOVISUAL SERVICE/LESLEY MARTIN

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

At COP26 in Glasgow, the European Commission has announced a new pledge of €100 million in finance for the Adaptation Fund. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>At COP26, EU pledges €100 million to the Adaptation Fund

By New Europe Online/KG

Picture by Lesley Martin
11 November 2021
EVP Timmermans attends a press conference in the Giants Causeway room, the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow during the Cop26 climate summit. EU Commission Executive-Vice-President Frans Timmermans speaks at COP26 in Glasgow, November 11, 2021. Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has committed nearly $868 million for climate change adaptation and resilience projects and programmes, including 126 concrete, localized projects in the most vulnerable communities of developing countries around the world with 31.5 million total beneficiaries. In February 2021, the Commission adopted a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, setting out the pathway to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change and become climate-resilient by 2050 in the European Union and around the world. In 2020, the EU and its 27 Member States committed €23.39 billion in climate finance to support developing countries in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. In October 2021, the EU submitted the Adaptation Strategy to the UNFCCC as part of its Adaptation Communication in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement. “The Adaptation Fund can play a key role and that is why I am pleased to announce for the first time that the European Commission is committing €100 million to the Fund, to support developing countries,” he added. This additional €100 million contribution from the EU budget is by far the biggest pledge for the Adaptation Fund made by donors at COP26, the Commission said that it comes on top of significant contributions already announced by Member States, and also confirms the EU’s supporting role to the informal Champions Group on Adaptation Finance. “We have to scale up international climate finance and provide a predictable framework for its delivery, EU Commission Executive-Vice-President Frans Timmermans said. The EU is already the largest provider of international climate finance. It underscores our determination to scale up finance to support climate adaptation objectives, and to strike a better balance between mitigation and adaptation, particularly in the most vulnerable countries and for the benefit of their most vulnerable populations, the Commission said, adding that this applies first and foremost to Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. Adaptation finance is one of the central topics of discussion at COP26 in Glasgow, and it is a high priority for the European Commission.

To this end, the two countries intend to cooperate to enhance the measurement of methane emissions, to exchange information on their respective policies and programs for strengthening management and control of methane, and to foster joint research into methane emission reduction challenges and solutions. The US and China are recognizing specifically the significant role that emissions of methane play in increasing temperatures, both countries consider increased action to control and reduce such emissions to be a matter of necessity in the 2020s. The United States has set a goal to reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. The United States has announced the US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. In addition to its recently communicated NDC, China intends to develop a comprehensive and ambitious National Action Plan on methane, aiming to achieve a significant effect on methane emissions control and reductions in the 2020s. Recognizing that eliminating global illegal deforestation would contribute meaningfully to the effort to reach the Paris goals, the two countries welcome the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, the declaration said, adding that the two sides intend to engage collaboratively in support of eliminating global illegal deforestation through effectively enforcing their respective laws on banning illegal imports. China will phase down coal consumption during the 15th Five Year Plan and make best efforts to accelerate this work. According to a report by the UN, CO2 emissions have gone up for the first time in four years. The report comes just days ahead of the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Poland from 02 to 14 December. They also agreed to maximize the societal benefits of the clean energy transition, policies to encourage decarbonization and electrification of end-use sectors, key areas related to the circular economy, such as green design and renewable resource utilization and deployment and application of technology such as CCUS and direct air capture, the declaration read. The United States and China intend to convene a meeting in the first half of 2022 to focus on the specifics of enhancing measurement and mitigation of methane, including through standards to reduce methane from the fossil and waste sectors, as well as incentives and programs to reduce methane from the agricultural sector, the declaration read. In order to reduce CO2 emissions, the US and China, intend to cooperate on policies that support the effective integration of high shares of low-cost intermittent renewable energy, transmission policies that encourage efficient balancing of electricity supply and demand across broad geographies, distributed generation policies that encourage integration of solar, storage, and other clean power solutions closer to electricity users, and energy efficiency policies and standards to reduce electricity waste. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

A view shows a power plant operating during a polluted day in Beijing, China, December 2, 2018. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>US-China ink joint deal to enhancing climate action in the 2020s

By New Europe Online/KG

epaselect epa07203122 A view shows a power plant operating during a polluted day in Beijing, China, 02 December 2018.   Taking into account the above cooperation, as appropriate, the two sides before COP 27 intend to develop additional measures to enhance methane emission control, at both the national and sub-national levels. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

The United States and China have signed a joint declaration on enhancing climate action this decade, agreeing to cooperate on regulatory frameworks and environmental standards related to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in the 2020s.

According to the UN officials, the investigation is ongoing, but local people are dismayed that no peacekeeper has been ever prosecuted for alleged violations since the Mission was deployed to the country in 2014. The driver refused to stop resulting in presidential security agents shooting in the air. However, the biggest perceived problem with the current UN mission in the CAR is that the presence of UN peacekeepers has been marked not only by their absence from protection duties, but by violations against the population of the Republic.  
It is but one reason why rarely does a day pass without public protests against MINUSCA. The most recent event that has shocked Central Africans was the death of a girl caused by a fatal road accident on 1 November. Public anger is based on the fact that despite such tragedies, no one has been prosecuted. But for Russian and Rwandan support in the crisis that unravelled in the CAR in its pre-and post-electoral period of 2020-2021, the country’s civilian population could have experienced a much worse scenario. This is unsettlingly reminiscent of Rwanda. Portugal’s Defense Minister Joao Cravinho said he informed the United Nations last year, but there had been no reaction. Portuguese police have clamped down on a crime ring that allegedly involved the country’s UN peacekeepers in the CAR using military planes to smuggle gold, diamonds and drugs. But the UN mission, charged with protecting the population, is increasingly seen as serving only to aggravate violence in the country. It is worth recalling that, back in 1993, an armed force of approximately 2,500 peacekeepers was deployed to Rwanda to support the Arusha Agreement, designed to end the civil war between Rwanda’s Hutu government and the Tutsi liberation movement, the “Rwandan Patriotic Front.”
However, instead of overseeing national reconciliation, UN soldiers bore witness to genocide, due to the mission’s reluctance to actively participate on the ground, effectively paralysing the bureaucracy of UN structures. According to numerous reports on the ground, the UN peacekeepers would stay in their bases, ignoring the armed groups terrorizing the population close by. Car accidents are not the only problem with the peacekeeping mission as is shown by a recent Portuguese investigation. As a result, one of the bullets killed a 12-year-old girl. Soon after the tragedy, the population of the republic submitted a petition calling for the MINUSCA mission to leave the country. UN  senior officials fail to acknowledge the deaths caused by the blue helmets. The accident caused an outcry among Central African people and the girl’s funeral led to a spontaneous protest against MINUSCA at the entrance to the Egyptian contingent’s base. The United Nations only said it would “follow up” on the matter only after media reports of the Portuguese probe. The MINUSCA vehicle rushed away from the presidential palace towards their base located close by but collided with a 16-year-old girl, Lumière Joie De Sagesse, who died from her injuries. Prior to the recent conflict, the main criticism was that the blue helmets of the UN peace-keepers failed to fulfil their basic task of protecting the civilian population from violence inflicted by armed groups. The allegations involve a total of 51 alleged perpetrators, the identities of whom are still unknown. After the incident, MINUSCA representatives went to the victim’s father and offered him a financial settlement which was seen as trying to buy his silence. The efficiency of UN peacekeeping in the region has been a topic for debate for some time, as the shadow of its perceived failure in Rwanda hangs over UN peacebuilding. Another scandal came to light mid-September when Gabonese troops posted in Bangui under the direction of the UN were sent home following abuse allegations. Experts on more recent peacebuilding processes in Africa warn that the current case of the Central African Republic (CAR), a country that has experienced an armed attack against the state and civilians, could have ended up as a repeat of the tragic Rwandan genocide, when about 1 million innocent people were slaughtered in just 100 days. This and other cases merely add to the already fragile security situation in the CAR where armed groups attack civilians. In addition to sexual misconduct, contraband and numerous road accidents, certain contingents of MINUSCA allegedly cooperate with local armed groups who terrorize the civilian population. It happened when a  vehicle belonging to the Egyptian contingent of the MINUSCA tried to cross the perimeter security fence of the residence of President Faustin Archange Touadera, in the 4th arrondissement of Bangui to take photos. At the end of September, a woman in Damara died on the spot, after being hit by MINUSCA car. On August 10, a MINUSCA truck ran over a man in Bria. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Protests against the UN escalate in the Central African Republic

By James Wilson
Founding Director of the International Foundation for Better Governance, a not for profit organization dedicated to promote, protect and defend the fundamental rights of citizens, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. MINUSCA was deployed to the Republic in 2014 and, since then, Central Africans have been notably vocal of their discontent with the UN mission. Some 32 victims including eight children have been identified through preliminary investigations into sexual exploitation and abuse by the Gabonese contingent in the CAR serving under the UN flag. The most recent outrage, which came to light in video footage, documents alleged collaboration between UN peacekeepers and Ali Darrassa, an infamous Nigerian warlord, responsible for operations against the state and the civilian population. Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

The mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA in the Central African Republic ends on 15 November so it is appropriate to evaluate its performance. Near the scene, a disgruntled crowd gathered, and to disperse it, the peacekeepers fired randomly. The regrouped, and highly motivated national army (FACA), supported by their Russian and Rwandan allies, has been successful in repelling such attacks.

There is no word on when the vote will be rescheduled. This may be far more than is actually possible since many EU member states are now opposed to rapid Enlargement, but it is the current scenario on offer. But at the end of the day, the lack of 61 MPs physically in Parliament allowed for the cancellation of the no-confidence vote due to a simple lack of quorum (60 present 61 needed). This means that despite this week’s political turmoil, nothing changes at the top in Skopje for the time being. Somehow, somebody still unidentified managed to influence him to absent himself from parliament and send a message on Facebook explaining his new position. Parliamentary maneuvering over quorum requirements saves PM Zaev, at least for now. Zaev’s SDSM party and its allies, with close to 59 votes, made sure its MPs were not present, which skillfully prevented the quorum for lack of one more MP. On occasion, a foreign ambassador has been known to lobby recalcitrant MPs ahead of key votes, as well, such as the ratification of the 2018 Prespes Agreement with Greece. “BESA will continue the fight […] The cooperation with the opposition will continue until the next [opportunity to] topple this regime,” he said. MPs in Skopje have in a number of critical votes in the past switched positions at the last minute, although it is usually after a government tax inspector comes calling that a mysterious transformation occurs (something western embassies in Skopje never comment on, despite constantly arguing for more open and democratic political processes). BESA is not taking all of these machinations sitting down. Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

The November 11 no-confidence vote in Zoran Zaev’s government was stopped after an extremely difficult day for lack of a quorum. What is striking, however, is the lack of commentary from the army of pro-democracy NGOs in Skopje and the region about the November 11 machinations, since keeping their preferred candidate in power is essential for them The mysterious part of this tale involves one ethnic Albanian MP, Kastriot Rexhepi, who had previously declared along with his small party (BESA) that he would no longer support Zaev’s government. Rexhepi said in his Facebook post: “For the good of processes and amid strong signals from our strategic partners, the US and the EU countries, which I received from high-ranking diplomatic representatives, I decided not to attend the session.” It will take years and a number of various freedom of information act/disclosure requests to retrieve classified diplomatic correspondence from western embassies so as to identify Rexhepi’s interlocutors over the previous week. Watch Bulgaria’s elections
All eyes are now focused on Bulgaria’s latest elections (the third attempt this year) set for November 14, with rumors and scenarios swirling around the North Macedonian capital that with a weakened Zaev in place, some kind of deal, essentially any deal that Sofia proposes, will be signed and the path to North Macedonian EU accession will be freed from Bulgaria’s longstanding veto. Evidence of foreign intervention in the vote
The tale of the political maneuvering on November 11 might someday make a good film, but we probably have not seen the final chapter. The day before the vote, it appeared that the right-wing nationalist party (VMRO-DPMNE) and its allies had gathered the 61 votes needed to topple the Zaev government in the country’s 120-seat parliament. After Rexhepi’s no-show in parliament, BESA spokesperson Arianit Hoxha accused the ruling parties of using “threats, blackmails and other forms of influence” to foil the vote. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Tales of mystery and imagination in Skopje

By Alec Mally
Director for Global Economic Affairs at IPEDIS

An interior view of the North Macedonian parliament. Rexhepi is reported to retain close professional connections with The Netherlands embassy in Skopje, where he was once employed. Extraordinary events during the day included the “disappearance” of a critical MP.