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Updated: Ceasefire in Ukraine agreed in Minsk

After more than 13 hours of negotiation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed on the Minsk Peace Agreement consisting of 13 points. Angela Merkel states that Poroshenko ‘’did his utmost to stop the bloodshed,’’ that has been going on in his country. Putin apparently exerted pressure on the separatists to agree with the ceasefire that will take into place on the 15th of February at 0.00h. Also, a $17,5 billion facility has been agreed between the International Monetary Fund and Ukraine.

Macedonian PM accused of massive wire-tapping

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of the conservative nationalist VMRO DPMNE and the country’s secret police chief have been accused of ordering a massive wire-tapping on more than 20,000 people by opposition leader Zoran Zaev (Social Democratic Union, SDSM). Zaev claimed he can support this accusation with tons of material which are in his possession. According to Zaev, the Prime Minister has continually received daily reports on his political opponents by the secret services. The opposition has released some audio materials and transcripts that consist of phone conversations between Zaev and his fellow colleagues, and even a phone call with his young daughter.

Will Putin survive Ukraine?

Putin’s position is anything but self-evident. On December 4th, 2011, the Duma election was a severe loss for Vladimir Putin and his party ‘United Russia’. The party’s previous advantage of 64% now fell to a slight majority of 50%(1), and more than 30.000 protesters signed up for a protest on December 10th(2), that led to one of the largest protests in Moscow since the 1990s, aimed against ‘United Russia’ and Putin. It made quite clear that his leadership was vulnerable and it needed a boost.

Merkel & Hollande to present peace plans in Moscow, ceasefire in Debaltseve, Ukraine

The French president and German Chancellor have announced a surprise visit to Moscow on Friday February 6, hoping to achieve a deal that could put an end to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. As Hollande spoke of decisions of war and peace, suspicions have been raised that the Kremlin might attempt to split Europe and the US as the American Congress urges President Barack Obama to send military aid to Ukraine. The talks are set to start at 5 PM local time (2 PM GMT).

Tunesië: het land van hoop en paradoxen

Vrijdag 23 januari 2015 heeft de Tunesische regeringsleider Habib Essid de samenstelling van de nieuwe regering bekend gemaakt. De nieuwe regering, onder leiding van president Béji Caïd Essebsi (BCE) (88) markeert een belangrijke stap in het transitieproces na de revolutie in 2011. Na deze revolutie zijn in vrijwel alle landen in de regio opstanden uitgebroken, waaronder in Egypte, Libië en Syrië. Tunesië is tot op heden echter het enige land waar de transitie relatief geweldloos verloopt en waar nu een vorm van democratie gevestigd is. De situatie in het land biedt daarom, zeker voor westerse landen, ‘ hoop voor bange dagen’. Dit optimisme is, zeker gezien de situatie in de eerder genoemde landen, gerechtvaardigd, maar er zijn ook enkele paradoxen en complicerende factoren die aanleiding geven tot het plaatsen van kanttekeningen.

Minority governing coalition formed in Moldova

On 23 January the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) signed an agreement to form a minority governing coalition. Earlier, the leaders of the parties announced they were unable to come to an agreement with the third prospective coalition partner, Liberal Party (PL). The PL still seems opens to discussions, but has dismissed any possibility of agreement with the Communist Party, as suggested earlier by PDM leader Marian Lupu. The minority coalition will have to gather support from opposition MPs for each of its proposals.

Strong condemnation of the killing of Egyptian Activist Shaimaa El-Sabag

On 24 January a woman was killed as security forces dispersed a march by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party on Saturday in central Cairo. Shaimaa El-Sabag, one of dozens of marchers, was shot by pellets at close range, according to a statement issued by the party. El-Sabag was a member of the Arab Women Network Tha’era, which is a coalition of social democratic parties in Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, and an organization representing civil society.

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