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CIS chief says presidential election in Azerbaijan was competitive

The February 7 early presidential election in Azerbaijan was competitive and contested, and incumbent President Ilham Aliyev secured his win as he enjoys undisputed authority among citizens, Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Sergey Lebedev told TASS.

EU envoy denied entry into Abkhazia

In his personal statement published by Jam News on January 26, Toivo Klaar, the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, says that his request to visit Abkhazia scheduled for the end of January 2024 has been denied. It marked the second refusal of his visit to the region in the past six months, Civil Georgia reported.

Erdogan signs off on Sweden's NATO membership

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved Sweden's bid to join NATO on Thursday, ending months of delay and leaving only Hungary standing in the way of Stockholm's membership of the military alliance, Reuters reported.

Future prospects of prisoner swap between Russia, Ukraine unclear so far — Kremlin

The future prospects of prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine are unclear so far, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, Tass informs.

US, British forces carry out new strikes in Yemen

U.S. and British forces carried out a fresh round of strikes on Monday in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the group against Red Sea shipping, Reuters reports.

Ron DeSantis ends U.S. presidential campaign, endorses Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday ended his U.S. presidential campaign and endorsed former President Donald Trump, The Washington Post reports.

European Parliament won't observe presidential elections in Azerbaijan

The European Parliament will not observe the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan, a number of leading MEPs said in a statement on Tuesday.

Implementation of Putin-Kim agreements in full swing, says Lavrov

Work has commenced to implement the agreements reached between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his opening remarks at talks with North Korean counterpart Choe Son Hui.

Netanyahu says Israel won't permanently occupy Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday night Israel “has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population,” rebuffing hard-right ministers’ calls to rebuild Israeli settlements in the territory and encourage Palestinian emigration, the Times of Israel reports.

Russia becomes Europe’s first economy despite 'pressure from all sides,' Putin says

Russia has become Europe’s first economy and the world’s fifth in terms of purchasing power parity, Tass quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying.

Japan earthquake death toll tops 200

Rescuers have found the bodies of 22 more people killed in the powerful earthquakes that struck Japan in the Noto Peninsula area, which brought the death toll to 202, according to data from the Ishikawa Prefecture’s authorities.

Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia to cut crude oil prices in all regions

Saudi Arabia will cut key crude oil prices for buyers in all regions, including its main Asia market, for February amid persistent weakness in the market, Bloomberg reported.

Russia, Ukraine exchange hundreds of prisoners

Russia and Ukraine have exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war in the biggest single release of captives since the war began in February 2022.

Iranian President to visit Turkey

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is scheduled to visit Ankara on Thursday along with a political and economic delegation, IRNA news agency reports.

Japan quake death toll climbs to at least 64

At least 64 people died on New Year's Day in the Noto Peninsula and surrounding areas of central Japan as a result of a powerful earthquake, Kyodo reports.

Biden, Qatar's Emir discuss Gaza hostages

U.S. President Joe Biden and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani have discussed the need to release hostages held in Gaza and efforts to boost humanitarian aid, the White House has said.

Netanyahu notes 3 prerequisites for peace in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote an op-ed Monday outlining three prerequisites for peace in the region: the destruction of Hamas, the demilitarization of Gaza and the beginning of a deradicalization process of Palestinian society.

Number of candidates for Russian presidential election exceeds 30

More than 30 people are seeking nomination as candidates for the post of Russian president, the campaign will definitely be competitive, Russian Central Election Commission head Ella Pamfilova told TASS.

Biden signs $886 bln defense policy bill into law

President Joe Biden of the United States signed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (starting on October 1) in the amount of $886.3 bln on Friday, the White House said in a statement.

Iran supports opening of communication routes in Caucasus based on sovereignty, territorial integrity of all countries

President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, during the December 20 phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, expressed support to "any type of action and platform to open communication routes and infrastructures with the Caucasus region, while respecting the principle of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries", the Iranian presidential office said in a readout.