This year the Riga Dialogue took place on September 10 under the heading "Strategic Narratives and Sustainability in the Euroatlantic Community". Already for the seventh time, foreign and security policy experts came together with current and former politicians to discuss urgent issues of international politics during three different panels.
The focus in 2020 was on the future of multilateral and global cooperation, possibilities for the de-escalation of tensions between NATO and Russia, as well as a debate on arms control together with an outlook on current and future disarmament treaties. The conference concluded with a public debate on the developments in Belarus and possible implications for the West and Russia.
For the first time, this year’s conference was held in a hybrid format, with a large proportion of the guests participating online. Hence, an international and lively debate took place despite existing travel restrictions. Throughout the day, it was possible to identify both major challenges and concrete solutions. Although from a global perspective multilateralism and international cooperation at present are certainly not self-propelling, the participants agreed that the continuation of the dialogue between Russia and the West together with a global discourse are key for future improvement.
Against this background, a series of concrete reforms to enhance international cooperation was proposed, for instance within the United Nations. Relating to the tensions between Russia and NATO, the participants discussed various options to create a win-win situation for both parties. They concluded, for instance, that unilateral but parallel measures from both sides could contribute to confidence-building in the long term.
The final public discussion on the current situation in Belarus attracted a wide audience. The panel offered a unique opportunity to not only examine developments, possible causes and structures together with experts, but to also look to the future and discuss possible consequences.
The Riga Dialogue 2020 was organised in cooperation with the LIIA (Latvian Institute of International Affairs), the European Leadership Network, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Russian International Affairs Council.
Source: FES Baltic
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Opening Thought RD2020