Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten
On Saturday 12 July, 46 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during raids led by the Israeli army, making it the bloodiest day since the beginning of the Operation Protective Edge on July 8th. Extensive air raids, as well as the deployment of 1,500 Israeli soldiers around Gaza have been answered by the multiplication of rockets launched by Hamas and from Lebanon in the direction of Israel. International reactions have so far failed to consistently condemn any side, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “no international pressure will prevent [Israel] from using all its power to ensure that Israeli citizens can live in peace”.
Serbia Prime minister’s two days visit to Russia on Monday and Tuesday was marked by negotiations about the South Stream gas pipeline project, which aims at transporting Russian natural gas to Southern and Central Europe countries through the Black Sea. It should also diversify delivery routes of Russian gas by bypassing the Ukrainian territory. While Belgrade has increasingly turned westwards by declaring its accession to the EU as its foreign policy priority, it has reaffirmed its willingness to preserve good relations with Moscow. This position may be challenged by the finalisation of the South Stream, opposed by Brussels.
Inter-ethnic tensions have recently been on the rise in Macedonia. The convicting to life imprisonment of six Albanians accused of killing five ethnic Macedonians during 2012 Orthodox Easter near Skopje has triggered mass demonstration on behalf of the Albanian community living in the country. Opposition to the police last Friday led to at least twenty injured demonstrators. Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski declared yesterday that “The state won’t let these protests escalate to an extent where they can jeopardise the interests of the people and the [country’s] institutions”.
Eduard Shevardnadze died today, Monday July 7th, at the age of 86. He was the diplomatic face of late USSR policies before being elected President of Georgia in 1995.
Moldova has been increasing its political and economic ties with the European Union since the signature of the Association Agreement on June 27th, alongside Ukraine and Georgia. In comparison to the turmoil created in Ukraine by its rapprochement with the European Union, very little attention has been given to former Soviet nations such as Moldova and Georgia who are involved in a similar move westwards. Nevertheless, European agreements have large implications for these countries.
Between 19 and 22 of June Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Belgrade office, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) organised the first seminar of the 2014 Course for Promising Politicians. The event took place in Bečići, Montenegro, and focused on ideology and policies. FMS trainers Souad Haouli and Michiel Emmelkamp, Novo društvo (Croatia) trainer and SDP international secretary Karolina Leaković conducted the training.
A few days only after the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead near the contentious city of Hebron, the body of a 17-year-old Palestinian was in his turn found on the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday. This succession of events has increasingly strained relations in the region, leading to the largest clashes in the Occupied side of the city in years.
On the night of July 1st the ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian state was put to an end by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In his address to the nation, he declared that Kiev "will attack and liberate [its] land. Not renewing the ceasefire is [its] response to terrorists, rebels, looters." This statement followed the multiplication of aggressive actions by pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern part of the country. The ceasefire had been effective for ten days, without a clear diminution in the conflict’s intensity and renewed breaches of the truce. Ukrainian Foreign Minister stated on Monday that the ceasefire had led to 27 Ukrainian servicemen being killed and 69 wounded during more than 100 violations of the ceasefire by rebels.
Following our previous coverage of June 8th elections in Kosovo, declared as positive and democratic, the country has entered a profound political crisis. The opposition parties’ alliance against the PDK’s election victory have increasingly being challenging the political and institutional organization of Europe’s youngest state. Indeed the Vetevendosje’s demands to end the EU-led talks between Belgrade and Pristina still prevent the opposition from forming a majority.
Militant Sunny rebels in Syria’s northern Raqqa province have hailed the change of name by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) into Islamic State and the declaration of a new Calipahte on 29 June. After the deceleration by Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, Sunny rebels held a parade and cheered the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as new Caliph. The promulgation came after the organization conquered a large part of Iraq to add to its territory.