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CERES News Digest - Week5, Vol.3; Sept.30-Oct.4

CERES News Digest - Week5, Vol.3; Sept.30-Oct.4

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CERES News Digest is a news overview of the 33 countries that are covered by the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies Center at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service
CERES News Digest is a news overview of the 33 countries that are covered by the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies Center at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service

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10/08/2013

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Country News Digest  Vol.3, Issue #5
09/30/13-10/04/13
 Editor: Eugene ImasContributors:-Risa Chubinsky-Glyn Cozart -Joseph Gates-Tomas Hyde-Katharine Quinn-Judge
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Country News Digest 
 Te EU issued a statement Tursday expressingconcern about the pre-
 AzerbaijanGeorgia Russia
election environment in Azerbaijan, in which it noted“continued pressure on a number o opposition activists,civil society and independent media.” A prominentmember o the presidential administration said thestatement was “based on non-objective, one-sided andbiased inormation.” Te poll is scheduled or October 9.Russia is charging the30-person crew o theGreenpeace vessel ArticSunrise with piracy ater arresting the crew last week orprotesting an oshore oil platorm belonging to Gazpromin the Arctic. I convicted, members o the crew ace upto 15 years in prison.
 Armenia Moldova BelarusUkraineurkey
 Te Ukrainian stateenergy company Natogaz has negotiated a new deadline or its $2 billion loan repayment to Russia’sGazprombank. Te loan was due to be repaid June 242013. Te Ukrainian parliament voted to allow the state toguarantee Natogaz’s repayment, allowing the extension.Natogaz was unable to secure a discount on gas suppliesrom Gazprom, putting pressure on Ukraine’s nancesand creating the need or this renegotiated deadline. Jailed Belarusian rightsactivist Ales Byalyatski wasawarded the rst Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize September 30 or his work promoting citizens’ rights in Belarus. Byalyatski, oundero the opposition party Popular Front and head o theVyasna human rights group, is serving a 4.5 year prisonsentence or tax-evasion. His wie, Natalya Pinchuk,accepted the 60,000 euro prize on his behal at theParliamentary Assembly o the Council o Europe.
Brussels held the latestround o 5+2 negotiationsbetween Moldova and thebreakaway republic o ransniestria on Tursday. Tetalks ocused on acilitating reedom o movementacross the Nistru/Dniester river in order to strengthencommerce, communication, and trust between the twosides. Andrii Deshchytsia, who chaired the talks, saidthe parties were “more and more optimistic.”
 Ambassadors rom EU’sPolitical and Security Committee (PSC) recently met with Georgian ocials to urge the country to maintainits reorms prior to the Vilnius Summit in late November. Te Ambassadors also visited the AdministrativeBoundary Line in South Ossetia and expressed concernover recent Russian borderization attempts.On Wednesday Azerbaijan’sUN ambassador AgshinMehdiyev accused Armeniao resettling recent Syrian Armenian reugees in thedisputed region o Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia has thusar accepted over 10,000 Syrian Armenian reugees, butdismisses Azerbaijan’s resettlement claims as “lies anddistortion.” Tis week, Prime MinisterErdoğan announced along-awaited package o governmental reorms. Te reorms take a liberal stance,and include liting the ban on headscarves or womenin public institutions and lowering the election thresholdor political parties to enter parliament. Hoewever, many eel that the package is not substantial enough, noting thelack o anti-terrorism law reorms or reedom o religionor persecuted groups.
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Country News Digest 
Bakyt Amanbayev, aormer journalist, wasselected as Kyrgyzstan’s
 Kyrgyzstan
 Kazakhstan
new ombudsman or human rights on Tursday, beatingout 48 other candidates. Rights activists dier in theirassessments o his qualications, but welcomed a pledgehe made Friday to protect sexual minorities.
Negotiations over aBilateral Saety Agreementbetween the United Statesand Aghanistan have stalled in recent days. AghanPresident Hamid Karzai claims that two issues havebecome major stumbling blocks: the US’s insistenceon the right to launch oensive attacks in Aghanistanpost-2014, and its hesitance to guarantee deense o theAghan homeland rom...attack.”
 Mongolia Iran
Following last week’stelephone conversationbetween US PresidentBarack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani,the US suggested the possibility o short-term relie o sanctions against Iran in exchange or inormation onIran’s uranium enrichment program. Leaders o the sixsuperpowers will meet Rouhani on October 15-16.Israeli Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu met with urkmen ForeignMinister Rashid Meredov or the rst time this week,in an attempt to strengthen ties. Observers, stressing urkmenistan’s proximity to Iran, have suggestedconficting Iranian and Israeli interests in the Caspianregion are behind Israel’s bid to strengthen relations.Several issues plaguing theOyu olgoi mining projectin Mongolia were resolvedthis week. Resolutions include the decision to transerownership o third-party contractors working on theproject to Oyu olgoi, giving the Mongolian governmenta 34% stake in the mine.
Bakhytbek Smagul, aparliamentarian rom theruling Nur-Otan party,called Wednesday or a law to “root out homosexualrelations.Citing Kazakhstan’s low population density,“strategic” geographic location, and “national mentality,”he asked Parliament to look to Aghanistan, Russia, andMalaysia or legislative
inspiration.
On uesday the lower houseo ajikistan’s parliamentapproved the 30-year rent-ree lease extension o Russia’s 201st military base nearDushanbe. Te base is Russia’s largest military installationabroad. Additionally the lower house approved a bilateraltravel agreement that eases restrictions o ajik nationalsabroad in Russia.
Sergey Naumov, a journalist known or hisreports on compulsory labor during Uzbekistans cotton harvest, was releasedater a 12-day stint in prison. He was jailed September21 ater he allegedly harassed a woman on the street.Human Rights Watch has called his arrest “an illegal,orced disappearance,” saying it was “aimed at silencinghis independent reporting.”
ajikistanUzbekistan Afghanistanurkmenistan
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