China: New AIIB bank is alternative to Western financing

Over the weekend, China unveiled its newest foreign policy initiative: the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) a multilateral development bank headed by Beijing to provide financing for Asian projects. The AIIB is a clear rival to Western-headed development banks such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, which are all popularly…

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Iran: Obstacles to Nuclear Deal Remain

Whether or not a deal will be made concerning Iran’s nuclear program is again uncertain, as last-minute issues have emerged over the last few days. With the deadline of tomorrow looming, the two sides have seemingly failed to agree on how Iran’s existing nuclear stockpile will be reprocessed, if at all. Reports have varied –…

Turkmenistan: EU continues push for Trans-Caspian Pipeline

An EU Diplomat in Ashgabat, Denis Daniilidis has continued an initiative handed down from Brussels to push to restart talks on the Trans-Caspian pipeline, which would transport natural gas from fields in Turkmenistan across to Azerbaijan and then Turkey. The project has been stalling for years due to political, ecological, and financial uncertainties. The volume…

Afghanistan: US to delay troop pullout

Afghan Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Washington has borne fruit in the form of an agreement to delay the military pullout from Afghanistan, in spite of promises to cease all troop presence before the end of his second term, fulfilling a campaign promise. Both premiers made a joint press conference announcing the decision, in…

Russia Hosts European Far Right in St. Petersburg

Russia is playing host to a gathering of approximately 150 politicians from Europe’s far right. The event, held in St. Petersburg, is being attended by 12 different European parties, including members of Greece’s Golden Dawn and Germany’s National Democratic Party. Both parties have praised Russia’s adherence to “traditional values” and seemingly adopted the belief that…

Ukraine: Despite ceasefire, Russian arms still coming in

Reports that Russian arms are still flowing into Ukraine with no interruption cast doubts on how effective the Minsk II Accords will be at keeping peace official. Unofficially, fighting still rages around the Donetsk airport and Mauripol and many senior military officials from NATO have made public statements that Moscow continues to provide aid and…

Mongolia: A Case Study in Foreign Direct Investment

We had a chance to speak with Marius Toime, who is currently a project finance partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner’s office in Singapore, where he specializes in mining contracts and financing in the Asia Pacific Region and is a noted expert on investment in Mongolia, on which he has written extensively. SD: As you noted…

Ukraine: Energy Minister Seeks to Double Gazprom Transit Fees

Ukrainian officials will meet today with Russian officials and representatives from state-owned energy giant Gazprom to discuss Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine. There is no clear timetable for the talks, as quarreling between the two sides has persisted and indications are that myriad issues are still unresolved. Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn recently stated…

Iran Deal: No signatures this week

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi have dismissed the likelihood for a signed deal this week, citing more issues to be hammered out before all necessary signatories will be gathered to formalize the deal. The key item to look for, according to Zarif, was when all foreign ministers of the P5+1…