We’ve recently witnessed the end to six weeks of fighting and bloodshed in Nagorno-Karabakh. This period could be described by quickly moving events and lack of trustworthy sources. We saw how both sides, Armenia and Azerbaijan, were exchanging claims and counterclaims of territories won and lost, accusations of use of banned cluster munitions and foreign mercenaries and deliberate targeting of civilian areas. Repeated attempts at establishing a humanitarian ceasefire failed and calls to protect the civilian population went unheeded. Human tragedy was happening in front of our eyes and the international community seemed unable to stop it.

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However, the hostilities were finally halted after the signing of the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 9 November. This agreement will have far-reaching consequences and will define the security environment in the region for years to come. The de facto borders of Nagorno-Karabakh region will be redrawn and Azerbaijan will regain control of the surrounding territories it had lost in the 1990s. The line of contact will be controlled by Russian peacekeepers, who have already started arriving to their new place of deployment. …


After a few days of drama and several embarrassing moments by the incumbent President Trump, it is now clear that the majority of US voters wish to see significant changes in the US foreign policy, as Joe Biden becomes the new US President.

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

The world has already met Biden as one of the US top leaders when in 2009–2017 he served alongside President Obama as Vice President. In any case, the US presidential election results will have a major impact on world politics, including on relations between Europe and the United States.

Biden’s victory suggests that US relations and attitudes towards Europe, the EU and NATO will improve at a relatively rapid pace. Relations are thus returning to where they should be in today’s world in which countries sharing the same values should cooperate closely. …


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Photo by Ludde Lorentz on Unsplash

Selle Eesti ühiskonda lõhkuva nn referendumi peamine kahju on, et juba ainuüksi selle toimumine koos sinna juurde käiva labase retoorikaga paneb osa Eesti ühiskonna liikmetest otseselt olukorda, kus nad tunnevad, et see ühiskond neid ei soovi. Ja veel suurema osa ühiskonnast olukorda, kus on piinlik ja häbi selle pärast, mis meie 21. sajandi Eestis toimub.

Igatahes suurendab see totrus oluliselt ühiskonna stressi. Rääkimata sellest, et ühiskonna ees olevad tegelikud probleemid ja väljakutsed jäävad vajaliku tähelepanuta.

Seega ainus võimalus juba tehtud kahjuga piirduda oleks see vaenu külvav nn referendumiplaan lõpetada. Nüüd ja kohe.

Muidu me jäämegi eelolevatel kuudel iga päev kuulma ja lugema madalaid jutukesi, kuidas ja miks osa Eesti inimestest pole täisväärtuslikud. Ja see mürgitab ning kahjustab meie ühiskonda sügavalt pikaks ajaks. …


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Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

Less than a month remains until the US presidential elections, an event that will have a major impact on world politics for years to come, including on relations between Europe and the United States.

It is rather certain, that there will be changes in the US foreign and security policy, whichever candidate wins. This will also be the case if Trump wins, despite the fact that he has been the US President for years.

Now the question is, what will these changes mean for Europe?

Unfortunately, if we look at what has characterized EU-US relations during Trump’s presidency, it has mainly meant the weakening of and greater uncertainty in relations and political turbulence. …


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It is not acceptable to use violence and killings in international affairs, including between Armenia and Azerbaijan. You can try to force changes when you have power, but it is clear that such changes will not last. The only sustainable answer to the conflict can be a mutually agreed and mutually accepted solution. It means negotiations, it means talking to each other, and it means diplomacy.

Right now, the only result of the actions of the political leaders is the suffering of civilians, killings and people losing their homes. Violence begets violence. This will have long-lasting consequences.

Looking at history, also the recent history, the people of South Caucasus, including the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan have suffered enormously because of the political violence and this spiral must be stopped. …


Finally, the European Union leaders managed to agree on joint sanctions against Lukashenko’s henchmen. This very crucial and long awaited move also sends a signal of support to the Belarusian people and opposition who have been protesting on the streets for two months to show that they wish to have a democratic future. However, it was disappointing that Lukashenko himself, who is responsible for stealing the presidential elections from Belarusian people and for using violence to silence the protesters, was not on the initial list but was added later. This made the European Union seem weak.

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Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

In the bigger picture, it is even more problematic that the EU’s policy towards Belarus became the hostage of Cyprus’ concerns over Turkey. Namely, for a time, it was clear that the EU Member States had agreed to impose sanctions on the Belarusian regime, except for Cyprus, which was blocking this joint decision. At least officially, Cyprus’s reasoning not to allow these sanctions was that it wants restrictions on Turkish leaders as well. …


Allowing the construction of Nord Stream 2 has been a mistake from the beginning and should be stopped immediately. It would increase Europe’s energy dependence on Gazprom gas and is in direct conflict with the European Union’s core objective of the Energy Union, which is to prevent excessive market share from falling into the hands of an external supplier and to weaken Europe’s energy security.

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Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

However, Russia cannot build this pipeline alone — this would not have been possible without the consent and support of the German government. Nord Stream 2 would not be possible if the German government did not ignore those who are critical towards the project because behind the short-term economic benefits there are many longer-term fundamental security, political as well as economic risks. …

About

Urmas Paet

Member of the European Parliament @RenewEurope & Vice-Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Estonian Foreign Minister 2005–2014 & Minister of Culture 2003–2005.

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