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I've started an EC2 instance and installed the ec2-api-tools. Environment variables (JAVA_HOME, EC2_PRIVATE_KEY, EC2_CERT) are set up.

Running ec2-describe-instances doesn't return anything. According to the EC2 command line reference information on all currently running (and terminated) instances should be returned. What's going wrong?

In general ec2-describe-images -o self -o amazon works, so the EC2 tools are working. Adding explicitly -K and -C parameters to ec2-describe-instances doesn't change the situation.

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The ec2-describe will generally pick up us-west-1 region by default. If it displays nothing, that means you probably don't have any instances in the default region. 

You can configure your aws cli with the region of your choice by using the following command:

[default]

region = eu-west-1

Note: substitute the region with the region of your choice

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