April 19, 2019

The world is meeting in Termez

Bakhshi International Art Festival, Termez, Uzbekistan  Termez, Uzbekistan. Hundreds of artists of all kind, film producers, teachers, musicians, theatre directors, classical orchestra conducers, intellectuals and historians from around the world are arriving today in Uzbekistan to participate in the epic poetry festival, the unique Uzbek musical art of recreation of histories, named Bakhshi. The art of Bakhshi is a tradition of epic poetry developed widely in the VI-V centuries BC; Bakhshi means “educator who promotes enlightenment, knowledge”. A “Bakhshi” is a clever and wise artist who sings epic songs and passes on his educational heritage from generation to generation.  The city of Termez,…

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Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly set up

Monday, 25 March 2019, Paris, French Republic: German and French parliamentarians have set up their own joint parliamentary body after a ceremonious signing of a convention between the Bundestag’s Speaker Wolfgang Schäuble and the President of the French National Assembly, Richard Ferrand.  In total 50 deputies from Germany and 50 from France partook for the first time in a joint parliamentary session at the Salle Lamartine, a committee hall located at the Palais Bourbon.  The project meant to drive forward European integration is the first concrete step taken since the Treaty of Aachen/Aix-la-Chappelle was inked on 22 January 2019. Substantial debates are to…

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70 ans de relations diplomatiques belgo-indonésiennes

« 70 ans de relations diplomatiques belgo-indonésiennes : renforcer davantage la coopération entre les deux peuples » In the picture H.E. Mr. Yuri Thamrin Indonesian Ambassador. Savez-vous que cette année l’Indonésie et la Belgique fêtent le 70e anniversaire de leurs relations diplomatiques ? Au fil des années, des liens d’amitié se sont profondément tissés entre les deux pays qui se reflètent dans plusieurs domaines d’activités. Les relations entre les deux pays ont débuté depuis 1947 lorsque Dr. Paul Van Zeeland, alors sénateur coopté, a été choisi comme membre du « Comité des Trois Nations », aux côtés de l’Australien Richard Kirby et de l’Américain Dr. Frank P. Graham, dans le cadre des bons…

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The Global Coalition announces the military defeat of the Islamic State

By Guido Lanfranchi. After a long campaign, the Global Coalition against ISIS declared that the Islamic State has been militarily defeated. Yet, the organization will continue to pose a threat in the Middle East and beyond, and efforts to counter their narrative and actions are still very much needed – the Coalition warned. At the end of March 2019, the years-long campaign to deprive the Islamic State of its hold on territory in the area across the Syrian-Iraqi border finally came to an end. The campaign has been jointly managed by a coalition of 74 countries and 5 international organization,…

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The United States blames Maduro’s government for the situation in Venezuela

By Guido Lanfranchi. In the wake of meetings with representatives from both the Venezuelan opposition and Russia, U.S. Special Representative Elliott Abrams blamed the government of Nicolás Maduro and its supporters for the crisis in Venezuela. The United States – he announced – will continue to push for the restoration of democracy in the country. As the situation of Venezuela continues to be characterized by the power struggle between Mr. Nicolás Maduro and Mr. Juan Guaidó, this political clash has implication on the international diplomatic scene too. The international community remains split on the political crisis faced by Venezuela: on…

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The U.S. Treasury increases its pressure on Iran with new sanctions designations

By Guido Lanfranchi. In late March, the United States Treasury further increased its economic and financial pressure on Iran. The most recent measures consisted of sanctions towards a network funding Iran’s armed forces, as well as of enhanced warnings for private companies engaging with Iranian entities. Since May 2018, when the United States decided to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, the U.S. Treasury has been busy with devising and implementing a set of measures aimed at depriving the Iranian government from its sources of revenue. Speaking to the press during…

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Who and what will kill you?

By Barend ter Haar. When a man starts shooting around to kill people he doesn’t know, for terroristic purposes or just because he is crazy, he receives all the public attention he is looking for but does not deserve. This poses a challenge for governments. Will they take a high profile in order to look vigorous and decisive, even when that is exactly what the terrorists hope for, because it heightens their profile too? Or can they withstand that pressure and, while giving high priority to the prevention of such attacks, put these risks into a realistic perspective? A useful…

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NATO gears up for BALTOPS 2019

By Guido Lanfranchi. A few months after the execution of exercise Trident Juncture, NATO is preparing for the annual exercise Baltic Operations, also known as BALTOPS. For the first time, this exercise will feature the presence of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis. The organization phase of exercise Baltic Operations 2019 is nearing its completion, with the Final Planning Conference scheduled in these days in Vilnius, Lithuania. The execution of BALTOPS is not anything new, as the exercise is coming this year to its 47th iteration. However, for the first time the 2019 edition…

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NATO marks 70th anniversary with Washington meeting of Foreign Ministers

Foreign Ministers gathered in Washington D.C. on Thursday (4 April 2019) to mark 70 years since NATO’s founding, and to continue adapting the Alliance. “Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Addressing security in the Black Sea region, Ministers agreed a new package of measures to enhance NATO’s situational awareness and strengthen support for the Alliance’s partners in the region, Georgia and Ukraine. This support could include training for maritime forces and coast…

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Back to the Afghan Future

The security challenges of Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development By Professor Gilles-Emmanuel Jacquet. The current talks between the representatives of the Taliban and the US Government in Qatar are an important step but peace and stability are still beyond reach. Afghanistan’s reconstruction and durable development requires a satisfactory level of security and tackling issues such as unemployment, corruption, and armed violence. Since 2001 many reconstruction and assistance efforts have been conducted in Afghanistan but their real impact is limited by the security context and corruption. Foreign material and financial assistance was affected by embezzlement and misappropriation. Many examples can be easily…

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