Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week 4-10 February: East, West, and what lies in between II

In the days of the Munich Conference on Security Policy, of Putin’s memorandum at the State Council, and of Kosovo’s expected declaration of independence, an eye is kept wide open on the events of the USA Presidential campaign and the evolution of NATO enlargement.

Armenia: the American candidates are followed not only for their programs - internal and international politics - but also for sensible issues such as a solution for Nagorno-Karabakh and the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which is in both Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s agendas. Armenian Defence Minister Mikael Harutyunyan met with NATO delegation led by Jaroslaw Skonieczka. The delegation is in Armenia to assess the IPAP implementation, in view of the 26+1 Nato Session in April. At the same time, news are reported of a considerable cut of US economic aid to Armenia for next Financial Year (Georgia $52 ml, Armenia $24 ml, Azerbaijan $19,5 ml).
Azerbaijan: for Azeris in America, a new agency was established to ensure their successful participation to the vote, and for “Azerbaijani-American voters to speak with one vigorous voice, to be heard in Washington D.C…”. A good relevance was given to the declaration of the NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that Russia’s position will not be taken into consideration while admitting Ukraine to the alliance.
Georgia: Mathew Bryza said that “The situation is not perfect in Georgia – far from it. And this [presidential] election was not an example or a model to be followed elsewhere in the world.” A Statement that, although does not support opposition’s claim of illegitimacy of the vote, still doesn’t sound as optimistic as before.

Some issues divide the international arena, and for sure it doesn’t seem to be much better at local level, in the post/ante election environments.

With the uncompromising attitude that marked their politics in the late Shevarnadze government, Gachechiladze and Gamkrelidze, together with all the parties of the opposition bloc, decided to suspend talks with the Government.
Salome Zurabishvili, former Foreign Minister of Georgia, now opposition leader and head of the "Georgia's Way" Party, allegedly the new Prime Minister in case of opposition’s victory in the January elections, made a visit in the US on February 6th, for a hearing at the Helsinki Commission.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan applied to Constitutional Court for the election to be postponed of two weeks, as the Article 90 of Election Code prescribes in case of violation of the right to campaign.
The 9th, early in the morning, the building of the Ministry of Justice was set on fire. “The usual suspects”?

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