Tag Archives: CONFLICT

Conflict unfolding in Slovakia over Hungarian interference in internal affairs

In Slovakia, a conflict erupted between members of the government after the uncoordinated visit of the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Siyjarto to the city of Komarno, where more than half of the population is ethnic Hungarians.

Because of Siyjarto’s visit, the Hungarian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, and a large message was posted on the ministry’s website on behalf of Minister Ivan Korczak, who stressed that Peter Siyarto’s actions had “crossed all boundaries”:

“We want to have good-neighborly relations with Hungary, but I will not allow interference in our internal affairs,” he said.

At the same time, the Prime Minister of Slovakia Igor Matovic was led “outside the box” and became in this conflict … on the side of Siyjarto.

The prime minister, who is now in a hot stage of conflict with Minister Korchok, decided to scold him for criticizing the Hungarian minister — they say, there is no need to quarrel with neighbors.

The Slovak media outraged the actions and responded with headlines like “Matovic is behaving like a member of Orban’s party” or “Matovic is destroying Slovak diplomacy.”

Matovic became one of the very few Slovak politicians who decided to side with the Hungarian authorities in this dispute.

But the actions of Peter Siyjarto angered the overwhelming majority of Slovak political players, both in power and in the opposition, moreover, from different flanks — from the former ruling party Smer-SD to the almost pro-Russian “We are the family”, whose leader, Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollar emphasized: the situation is so obvious that he is ready to stand next to his ideological enemies in resisting the actions of the Hungarian government.

“It is unacceptable and unacceptable that a foreign state begins to meddle in our internal affairs. This is an absolute scandal!” He said indignantly.

EU outraged by London’s decision on Northern Ireland

The British government, in an attempt to tackle the Brexit-created Northern Ireland problem, took a step that Irish and Brussels politicians reacted unusually sharply, claiming that London was an unreliable partner that was breaking treaties.

On Wednesday, the government of Boris Johnson unilaterally, without waiting for the consent of the European Union, decided to extend the simplified inspection regime at the customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom created under the terms of Brexit for six months.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Clowney said Thursday that “the European Union is negotiating with a partner who simply cannot be trusted.”

“The EU is now looking at legal options and legal steps, which will mean a much more formalized and tough negotiation process instead of a partnership where you try to solve problems together,” Coveney added, speaking on the Irish radio RTE morning program.

The vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for relations with Britain, Slovak Maros Shevchovich said that London’s decision violated the provisions of the so-called “Northern Ireland Protocol”, which is part of the general agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

British government officials argue that they have not violated anything and that the protocol gives them the right to such unilateral actions.

“Such measures have precedents in other international agreements and are fully consistent with our intentions to fulfill our obligations under the protocol in good faith,” said the government spokesman David Frost, who, from the post of head of the British delegation in negotiations with the EU, moved to the post of minister for relations with the European Union.

London hinted at unilateral measures to the European Union in early February, when there was the first outbreak of emotions over the Irish border.

Under the “Northern Ireland Protocol”, following Britain’s final withdrawal from the EU earlier this year, customs checks began at ports in Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, by the decision of the parties, actually remained in the single market and customs space of the EU, because if the EU and Britain restored control posts on the state border on the island of Ireland, a bloody conflict could again flare-up in the northern part of the island.

However, the authorities and companies of Britain were not ready for full-scale checks on the new border across the Irish Sea immediately from January 1, and therefore Brussels and London introduced a simplified regime of checks for the first three months.

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This simplification lies in the fact that goods for Northern Ireland chain supermarkets and some other retailers pass through customs without unnecessary formalities. At the end of the simplified regime, they will have to receive certificates for meat, milk, and products from them.

The British government convinced that nothing will be ready by the end of March, first called on the EU to extend the simplified regime, and now announced a unilateral extension.

It is not known how the European Union will respond, but one of the members of the European Commission has already hinted at the possible consequences in the most important area of relations for Britain — financial.

“Such things do not promote trust,” said Irish Finance Minister Maria McGuinness, who answered a question from reporters about how the process of issuing permits to companies from the City of London to work in the EU market is going on.

In the agreements that Britain entered into with the EU during the exit process, trade in services, including financial services, is almost not regulated — and this is a major issue for the City and the entire British economy.

Now the parties are negotiating on the financial sphere, but in principle, all the main levers here are in the hands of the European Commission: it has the right, at its discretion, to give British financiers permission to work on the continent — or not.

Northern Ireland was the most pressing issue in Britain’s exit negotiations from the EU — and has remained so after the exit has already taken place.

The 1998 Belfast Accords, which ended years of bloody conflict between supporters and opponents of Ulster’s unification with the rest of Ireland, are largely based on the island’s virtual absence of a border.

While both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland were both members of the European Union, the virtuality of the border was natural and did not pose a problem.

But when Britain decided to leave the EU’s single market and customs space, the parties had to face a challenge with two poorly compatible initial conditions.

On the one hand, the restoration of the real border on the island, by all accounts, was fraught with renewed conflict: supporters of a united Ireland would begin to smash customs posts.

Turkey blames Greece for the attack on the ship

Turkey suddenly announced the aggravation of relations with Greece — allegedly the air force of this country attacked a Turkish scientific vessel in the Aegean Sea.

Athens, however, suddenly announced that the Greek aviation was not in the area at all, and made counter-accusations: they say, the Turkish ship sailed into the Greek water area.

It should be noted that the situation between the two countries has remained tense for several decades, and has recently worsened due to the exploration of a rich gas field in the Mediterranean.

This is further complicated by the fact that both Greece and Turkey are NATO members.

Turkey’s position

Citing sources in the Ministry of Defense, the Turkish agency Anadolu said that four F-16 fighters of the Greek Air Force flew 1,000 meters above the research vessel Cesme, which was carrying out hydrographic work in international waters of the northern Aegean Sea.

At the same time, one of the planes allegedly dropped a signal flare 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) from the vessel.

Later, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar clarified that the incident took place on February 22. According to him, such behavior is inappropriate and does not correspond to “good neighborly relations.”

“We have rules, within the framework of which the necessary answer was given,” added the head of the Defense Ministry, accusing Greece of violating international law.

The ministry also clarified that in connection with the incident, Turkey raised its fighters to intercept.

Position of Greece

In Greece, this information is denied and the Turkish side is accused of disinformation. Referring to its sources in the Ministry of Defense, the Ekathimerini edition writes that at the present time the Greek aviation is not operating in the area of the Cesme location, and the next military exercises are taking place several miles from the ship.

Also in Athens, they deny that Greek planes flew over the research vessel and that there was no response from Turkish fighters.

At the same time, the Greeks called the Cesme hydrographic survey in the Eastern Mediterranean illegal. As evidence, a map was published showing the Cesme fairway in the water area of the Greek island of Lemnos.

What is this ship?

Turkey sent Cesme to the north of the Aegean last week. Greece immediately protested this, although it admitted that the declared zone is in international waters.

Ankara assures that the research is purely hydrographic and is of exclusively scientific and technical interest — the Cesme crew is studying seismological activity in the area in which it is located.

In this regard, the Turks claim that they do not violate any bilateral or international treaties, since they do not conduct research on the seabed. In addition, the Greeks previously carried out similar activities.

Recall that in December, the EU agreed on sanctions against Turkey in connection with drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The rhetoric of Turkish President Recep Erdogan makes it clear that he does not intend to retreat — the leader expressed his country’s readiness “to take what is due to it in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas.”

EU: Russia is becoming ever more brazenly violate international rules

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for a close partnership between the European Union and the United States amid Russia’s defiant behavior.

She said this during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, which is held in a video format.

“An increasingly defiant Russia continues to violate international rules at home and abroad. Despite the growing discontent of its own citizens. It depends on us, on the United States and Europe, to strengthen our cooperation again, as proven partners. It’s not just about joining forces, it’s a signal for peace,” von der Leyen said.

Turkey again sent a ship to explore the bowels of the Aegean Sea despite the protests of Greece

Greece has protested to Turkey over the deployment of a research vessel in the Aegean Sea, in what is called an “unnecessary” move as NATO allies seek to resume talks on a long-running maritime dispute.

This is reported by Euractiv.

The Turkish Navy said this week that the research vessel “Cesme” will conduct hydrographic surveys from February 18 to March 2 in an area of international waters where both sides have potential interests.

“This is an unnecessary step that does not contribute to a positive mood,” said Greek government spokesman Christos Tarantilis.

According to representatives of the Greek government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has filed an oral complaint.

According to Turkish diplomatic sources, Ankara believes that the area is in international waters, and oceanographic studies were not related to the dispute over the continental shelves.

They said the vessel would conduct the same scientific research that Greece had recently conducted in the area, which was allowed by a 1976 agreement between the two countries.

Greek officials said that although the Cesme operates in international waters, it is Greece’s responsibility to issue maritime warnings in this part of the Aegean Sea.