Foreign affairs specialists snickered last week as an unknown source released a recording of Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the U.S. State Department, saying, “F**k the EU.” Nuland used the expletive during a phone discussion of potential arrangements for overseeing a political transition in Ukraine, which has been in turmoil since its government rejected an economic deal with Brussels under Russian pressure last year.
Il s'en est fallu de peu pour que la conférence internationale sur la Syrie n'échoue avant même d'avoir commencé. Le plus surprenant est que cet obstacle de dernière minute est venu de Ban Ki-moon, le secrétaire général des Nations unies, qui doit présider au lancement de ce processus de négociations, baptisé « Genève 2 », mercredi 22 janvier à Montreux, en Suisse, en présence d'une quarantaine de pays.
Can Estonian soldiers defend their country by fighting in the middle of Africa? Last week, the European Union approved plans to send up to 1,000 troops to the Central African Republic (CAR). Perhaps surprisingly, Estonia was the first EU member to make a firm pledge of ground forces to the mission, which will reinforce existing French and African contingents. Other eastern EU members, including Poland and the Czech Republic, are also reportedly considering participating, while Britain and Germany have hung back.
At an international peace conference for Syria in June 2012, participants agreed to what has become known as the Geneva Communiqué. It laid out a six-point plan intended to stop the violence and move the two sides towards a political settlement. The United Nations is trying to implement that framework at peace talks going on now in Switzerland where the two parties have finally agreed to meet.
Can Europeans safely ignore rising tensions in the Asia-Pacific? Many in Europe now argue that, in the context of economic crisis and the US “pivot” to Asia, the European Union’s beleaguered member states should narrow their strategic focus to their troubled neighbourhood.
Jordan takes over the U.N. Security Council presidency on Wednesday, the first day of its two-year stint on a 15-nation body struggling to cope with conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali and elsewhere.
The European Union, most often preoccupied with its economic problems over the past few years, grappled with two strategic challenges last week. The first involved a tug-of-war with Russia over Ukraine. The second centered on Geneva, where the union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, chaired talks on Iran’s nuclear program.