Monday 8 September 2008

The Thaw II

Global warming leads to melting glaciers. The heat of the Georgian conflict has provided a window of opportunity for a political thaw - not as big as The Thaw in the late 1980s, but still remarkable.

The first positive development is the meeting of the Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gül at the sidelines of the World Cup qualification match between both countries. It was the first official meeting between politicians of the countries for decades.

This is a marvellous move by both politicians, and I commend them for their remarks (quoted in a German newspaper) that as politicians they have the responsibility not to pass problems to the next generation but to try to solve them now (which might bring us back to global warming).

The football game between Armenia and Turkey was won by Turkey. Nevertheless, further meetings at high level are planned. The French EU Council President Sarkozy welcomed the step by both countries.

The second positive development we can observe is a thaw in EU-Belarussian relations. The EU Commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner has mentioned the possibility of a high-level meeting between the EU Troika (Presidency, Commission, Solana) and Belarussian officials. This move is the result of the release of three political prisioners by the authorities. This happened while Russia and Georgia were fighting in the Caucasus.

These are still small steps, but its good to see that tensions between European countries are not only raising but that even in times of conflict it is possible to make some progress in the strive for a more peaceful contintent.

I am not having illusions, but I still prefer little moves in the right direction to those massive stupidities Russia and Georgia have made in the last month.