Officially on the agenda for the meeting are the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Syrian war, and the refugee situation in the region as well as the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. For the moment, Merkel seems to have little leverage to affect any major changes in Moscow’s policies. At least in the near term, Putin holds the key to real progress on any of the three items and little suggests his previous positions have shifted significantly since their last meeting in May – or are likely to do so in the immediate future.
And yet, this year in Brussels, NATO planners took several steps towards strengthening the Alliance’s southern strategy. The extension of the commitment in Afghanistan and launch of the training mission in Iraq grabbed headlines, but another southern initiative was one of the quiet successes of the summit.
Washington and Brussels have been working to increase cross-border economic integration in the energy sector and to promote increased US-EU energy ties at least since the early 2000s when they began serious talks about diversifying supplies to Europe and enhancing the EU’s energy security. In recent years, the United States’ increased natural gas production has provided new options for potential US energy supply to Europe, beyond emergency supply situations.
How can lawmakers better secure the US election system as the 2018 midterms loom? Though progress has been made in election funding and assistance to states, the keys to election security are mandatory cybersecurity standards for election system vendors and for state and local election sites, in tandem with adequate state funding.
On September 30 you will have the opportunity to make a historic choice. Do you want to open the way to giving your country membership of NATO and the EU by supporting the agreement with Greece? We, The Ohrid Group, urge you to say yes.
We are a group of senior international statesmen, diplomats, soldiers, and thinkers who have all been deeply involved in helping your country during the last twenty years. Many of us were here in the early years of this century, including helping to negotiate the Ohrid Accords and being part of the subsequent NATO operations. We are all proud to have helped during your times of trouble. We all left a small part of ourselves in your beautiful country, so now we all want to see you move forward to the better future you deserve.
The Syrian civil war, which began seven years ago, has had an ongoing deep and tragic impact on Syrians. Half a million lost their lives and 11.5 million were displaced. Of those displaced, more than six million became internal refugees and over 5.6 million fled to neighboring countries. Sharing a 911-km border with Syria, Turkey became the country most affected by the migratory movement of Syrian refugees. For the first four years of the war, Turkey handled the crisis on its own without much international support and assistance. Today, it is much harder to do that. Turkey has become the world’s largest refugee-hosting nation and a permanent home to more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees living there, in comparison to 986,000 in Lebanon and 66,000 refugees in Jordan.
In his announcement, the American president said, “our relations with Turkey are not so good at this time!” The new tariffs follow the sanctioning of the Turkish interior and justice ministers on July 31.
The Turkish lira tumbled following Trump’s announcement and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked Turkish citizens to convert any US dollars and gold into lira to help the country in its “national struggle.”
Here is a look back at the pieces which ran from August 7 until August 9: