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Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey: trilateral meeting to discuss the peace process


During a press conference with CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Turkish Prime Minister Binali said Turkey has suggested a trilateral meeting of officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan. Afghan Executive Office has expressed optimism over the trilateral meeting and hopes the summit will reduce tensions between Kabul-Islamabad. During the visit to Kabul, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said that Turkey strongly supports the Afghan government’s efforts for peace in the country, and called on the Taliban to start dialogue with the Afghan government. Bashir Ahmad Tayenj, a Member of Parliament believes that Turkey can play a key role in Afghan peace process because is a powerful Islamic country with an effective role in regional politics. Furthermore, analysts stress on Turkey’s pressures over Pakistan to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs and fight against terrorism. Turkey’s call for peace in Afghanistan comes as the Taliban still maintained its silence and has yet to formally respond to the peace offer. 

Farc and Eln will meet in Ecuador


Members of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC) asked the National Liberation Army (Eln) for an emergency meeting in Quito, Ecuador, to address several issues related to the safety of their ex-combatants who have being killed, apparently, by hands of Eln guerrillas. In recent days the ex-guerrilla denounced that in Cauca several ex-combatants were kidnapped and threatened by the ELN in what would be a dispute over a territory that historically occupied the Farc.

EU, Turkey meeting in Bulgaria next week


The leaders of the EU and Turkey will meet on March 26 at the Evksinograd residence in Varna, Bulgaria to discuss many issued as the Customs Union agreement, requirements of a signed migrant deal, the fight against terrorism and Turkey’s accession to the bloc. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The meeting will build on the previous leaders’ meeting that took place on May 25, 2017. On the Customs Union issue, the council has not given the required mandate to the European Commission to launch technical talks with Turkey because there is not the consensus of all members, Germany primarily. The Customs Union covers all industrial goods, but does not address agriculture (except processed agricultural products), services or public procurement right now.

In the meeting will be also discussed the implementation of the migrant deal. The migrant deal envisages a one-for-one formula under which failed asylum seekers in Europe are returned to Turkey while Syrian refugees are resettled in EU states in a quota system. Turkey was promised to be given the full amount of six billion euros in two parts. The first part, 3 billion euros, is to be fulfilled by 2018 and the European Commission said it will grant another 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion).  Furthermore, in Varna, the Turkish leader will reiterate Turkey’s candidacy for full membership to the bloc.

Mattis meet Turkey defense minister in Brussels


U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis will meet Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli next week in Brussels and discuss the situation in Afrin and Manbij. Mattis said the situation in the Syrian town has not changed despite the Turkish pressure. Mattis described Ankara’s rhetoric on Manbij as something very concerning for the U.S. and he added that operation in Manbij is a distraction from the fight against Daesh. The Obama administration previously had promised Ankara that once Manbij was cleared of Daesh, the YPG would leave the town, but YPG-affiliated commanders are still in the town, according to Turkey government.

President Erdogan meets Pope Francis


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Pope Francis as part of his two-day visit to the Vatican which saw him being welcomed with an official ceremony at the Apostolic Palace. During the visit, they discussed the status of Jerusalem, regional issues, the humanitarian tragedy in Syria, and the fight against terrorism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. The two leaders underlined that “equating Islam with terror is wrong”, according to Turkish sources, with Erdoğan telling the pope that Turkey values people from all religions, including Catholics, living in harmony and peace. Turkish sources said Erdoğan and Pope Francis agreed that “joint steps are needed to mobilize the international community to forge regional peace and stability” and to not be silent to ongoing humanitarian crises. A Vatican statement said the talks “[included] the status of Jerusalem, highlighting the need to promote peace and stability in the region [Middle East] through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and international law”. In fact, Pope Francis was one of the international leaders criticizing the United States’ decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Following his visit to the Vatican, Erdoğan will meet his counterpart Italian President Sergio Mattarella at a working lunch in Rome. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni will also be present.During the meetings, the leaders will discuss cooperation in various areas, including politics, the economy and the defense industry. Some 3,500 police and security forces were Rome and authorities declared a no-go area for unauthorized demonstrations. An authorized demonstration of about 150 people including Kurds and their supporters outside nearby Castel Sant‘Angelo turned violent. Italian police said two people were detained after demonstrators tried to break through cordons to get closer to the Vatican from an authorized protest several blocks away.

Kathemerini: positive meeting with Nimetz


The meeting between representatives of Macedonia and Greece with the UN mediator in the name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, scheduled for Dec. 11-12 in Brussels, is a sign of continuity of the positive climate that has been created in the relations between the two countries after change of government in Macedonia, Greek daily Kathimerini reads.The next NATO Summit, to be held on July 11 and 12 in Brussels, is in function of a time frame, which moves to dispute resolution and achieving a mutually acceptable solution. Macedonia hopes that it will finally open the way to becoming a member of the Alliance.Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has repeatedly stated that the issue will be resolved in the first half of 2018, warning that if this does not happen, there will be major difficulties.The positions expressed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov are moderate and linked with the spirit of readiness to compromise. However, there is a big difference from the public statements to the essential acceptance of a different position. And certainly it is not just a matter of name that caused big reactions in FYROM. Even if a mutually acceptable solution is reached, it is necessary to have the readiness to use it, Kathimerini writes.Two countries implement confidence building measures, through small and easy steps, but symbolic and very useful.In this context, the Greek media commented on noticeable curbing of passions regarding the agenda of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski over Skopje 2014 project.

Court will study videos of officials’ interrogations as part of Maidan killings case


Kyiv’s Pechersky District Court will study behind closed doors the videos of interrogations of high-ranking Ukrainian officials in the process on a motion from the Prosecutor General’s Office to conduct a special pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings on the suspicion of former President Viktor Yanukovych in the crimes that led to the killings of Maidan activists on February 18-20, 2014, the PGO’s press service has reported.

At a meeting on Thursday, November 16, the court heard the testimony of Zakarpattia Regional Governor Hennadiy Moskal. Then the prosecutor in the case filed a petition to examine behind closed doors other statements of officials contained in 38 volumes of materials, with the goal of not disclosing the secrets of the pre-trial investigation.

Yanukovych’s lawyer, Vitaliy Serdiuk, in turn, said on his Facebook page that in this way the court had closed the possibility for the media and society to further examine the videos of interrogations of MP Serhiy Pashynsky, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Deputy Prime Minister Viacheslav Kyrylenko and other witnesses in the “Maidan case.”

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister met Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Palermo


Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano within the framework OSCE Mediterranean conference taking place in Palermo, October 24-25, 2017.  Ministers stressed the strategic importance of cooperation in energy field between the two countries and in this regards, referred to the Southern Gas Corridor and TANAP and TAP projects. Angelino Alfano emphasized the significance of TAP project in diversification of gas supplies and ensuring energy security of his country. Touching upon the priorities of his country during OSCE chairmanship in next year, Angelino Alfano reiterated that Italy supports the efforts towards the peaceful settlement of conflict with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The Italian minister stated that his country will continue to support Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the EU.

Vladimir Putin and Saudi king meeting round-up


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have begun the talks with the participation of the delegations. The Russian leader described their meeting behind closed doors as “substantive, meaningful and confidential”. “We have held detailed talks behind closed doors to talk about bilateral relations and the situation in the region”, Putin said. “That was a very meaningful, substantive and confidential conversation”. According to the president, Russia is glad to welcome the Saudi king during his first visit to Moscow. He expressed confidence that the visit will give a fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations. King Salman noted similarity of the two countries’ views on many regional, international problems. “I can say that our relations are keynoted by the similarity of views on many regional and international problems. Bilateral coordination is continuing on everything that promotes stronger security and the prosperity of our countries”, King Salman said.


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