The Russia-Ukraine crisis is putting the South Caucasus country of Georgia on a faster track toward closer ties with the European Union; less clear are the implications of the Crimean standoff for Georgia’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
A leading Russian newspaper is reporting that the Pentagon is in talks with three Central Asian states – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – concerning the transfer of military equipment currently being used by American forces in Afghanistan.
While some NATO members may be skittish about the alliance’s continuing involvement in Afghanistan, Georgia remains firmly committed, and will soon rank as the mission’s largest non-NATO supplier of troops.
Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization may not be progressing at a brisk clip, but some local analysts believe that the country’s accession to the Non-Aligned Movement last month put an even bigger question mark over the future of Azerbaijan’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), visited Turkmenistan January 11 to meet with Turkmen leaders. It was Gen. Mattis' first trip to Turkmenistan since assuming command last August at CENTOM, which oversees U.S. military activities in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Despite its long-avowed status as a neutral nation, Turkmenistan is playing an important supporting role for US and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan. Washington and Ashgabat are both keen to keep Turkmenistan’s strategic role low-key, especially the financial aspects of cooperation.
As Russian President Dmitry Medvedev prepares to make an appearance in Lisbon during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit on November 19-20, Russian officials are pushing for the Atlantic Alliance to demonstrate a greater spirit of cooperation with Moscow in combating drug production in Afghanistan.