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caspian weekly roundup

Caspian Weekly Roundup

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Oct 30, 2018

ENERGY

Belarus to Help Uzbekistan Construct Nuclear Power Plant Belarus and Uzbekistan plan on signing a memorandum of understanding dealing with the nuclear sector. The presidents of the two countries discussed the possibility of cooperation on the implementation of the Uzbek nuclear power plant in September. "We have already signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy with Kazakhstan. A similar document is virtually ready to be signed with Uzbekistan. It is supposed to be signed this year. We abide by the principle of openness and actively share our experience. Delegations from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and other countries have been to Belarus. They were made familiar with the experience of construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant", Lilia Dulinets, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Energy Department of the Belarusian Energy Ministry said. New Italian Government Gives Final Approval of TAP Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave the final approval of the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The pipeline had been strongly opposed by the 5-Star Movement, one of the two parties in the ruling coalition. “It’s no longer possible to intervene in this project, which was planned by previous governments and carries contractual constraints,” Conte said in a statement. As the last link of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor project, TAP will bring gas from Azerbaijan to Italy. Local opposition to the project caused concern that the Italian end of TAP may not have been completed by 2020, the project’s completion deadline. Turkmenistan Welcome’s EUs Investment in Trans-Caspian Pipeline Project The European Union (EU) had expressed interest in the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, according to state news agency Turkmen Dovlet Khabarlary. Turkmenistan and the EU discussed cooperation during recent talks in Brussels. They two sides discussed the possibility of cooperation in the energy sector, modernization of the legal framework of the partnership, and implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project. The signing of the Convention of the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea created a legal framework for the implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project. Only the consent of the participating parties and an environmental impact assessment are needed for the implementation of the project. The Trans-Caspian pipeline project provides that the pipeline would deliver 30 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas to the European market for at least 30 years.

SECURITY

Georgia Elections: Two Former Foreign Ministers will go Head to Head Two candidates have cause for celebration after exit poll results on Sunday sent them into a run-off in the country's presidential election. Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze are both former foreign ministers of the former Soviet republic on the Black Sea. The ruling Georgian Dream party is backing 66-year-old Zurabishvili who was born to Georgian immigrant parents in France. The party identifies as center-left but is widely considered to possess an inconsistent ideology. Her main opponent, Grigol Vashadze, is running on behalf of a new platform of 11 opposition parties led by former President Mikheil Saakashvili's center-right United National Movement. An exit poll commissioned by the ruling Georgian Dream party puts Zurabishvili on top with more than half of the vote. Zurabishvili was cautiously optimistic, calling the exit poll “convincing." Meanwhile, results from both Edison Research and BCG Research put the two much closer, with both showing results at around 40 percent each. Opinion polls ahead of Sunday's election suggested that none of the 25 candidates is likely to receive the absolute majority needed for a first-round win. The likely runoff between the top two candidates is to be held by December 1. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Visits Turkey Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov departed Sunday for a visit to Turkey. First, Minister Mammadyarov attended the seventh trilateral meeting of the Turkish, Georgian, and Azerbaijani Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The Ministers signed the Istanbul Declaration reaffirming their commitment to regional stability and cooperation. They specifically emphasized the importance of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and their continued support for Southern Gas Corridor projects. Minister Mammadyarov will also attend the sixth trilateral meeting of the Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Iranian Foreign Ministers. Iran Deploying New Missile Site Satellite imagery indicates that Iran is building a new surface-to-air missile site at Mashhad airport. The site is meant to support the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps S-300PMU-2 missiles. The Russian-supplied missiles have been part of Iran’s air defense network since 2015 and have a range of about 124 miles (200 km). The new missiles site sits 47 miles (75 km) and 105 miles (170 km) from Iran’s borders with Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan, respectively. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Will Visit Astana in November Kazakh Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov reported on Monday, October 29 that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is planning an official visit to Astana, Kazakhstan on November 1st. During his visit, Dmitry Medvedev will hold meetings with both Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The parties intend to discuss "the current state of and prospects for trade, economic, regional, transport, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as interaction concerning the Baikonur complex.” NATO-Russia Council Will Be Held in Brussels on October 31st NATO-Russia Council will take place at the military alliance’s Brussels headquarters at the end of this month. It is planned to hold discussions on the military security problems and on the prevention of dangerous incidents in order to de-escalate military-political tensions. Other pressing European security issues will be touched upon as well. NATO terminated its cooperation with Russia after 2014 when Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula annexation occurred; however, it kept some channels open for occasional military cooperation. The council met eight times in the past two years. Azerbaijani Military Officials Visits Israel Head of the Azerbaijani military Col. Gen. Najmeddin Sadikhov traveled to Tel Aviv and met with his Israeli counterpart Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. The two generals discussed strengthening military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel and working together on issues of regional security. Col. Gen. Sadikhov also met with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liebrman. Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Visits Azerbaijan Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Russia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. President Aliyev described Minister Kolokoltsev’s visit as another indicator that Russia and Azerbaijan have strong bilateral relations. Minister Kolokoltsev echoed his statement, adding that the Azerbaijani and Russian heads of state have held five meetings in the past year, demonstrating a commitment to strengthening and developing those relations.

ECONOMY

Azerbaijan’s Rep Appointed as Vice President of Eurasian Patent Office A representative of Azerbaijan has been appointed as vice president of the Eurasian Patent Office, the Baku Intellectual Property Agency said in a message Oct. 29. Such a decision was made at a regular meeting of the Administrative Council of the Eurasian Patent Organization held October 22-23 in Dushanbe. During the meeting, a protocol on the protection of industrial designs on the territory of the Eurasian Patent Organization member countries was also discussed. Following the discussion, considering the proposals of Azerbaijan, an initial text of the protocol was adopted. Uzbekistan Takes Part in Eurasian Economic Forum, Signs Deals The 11th Eurasian Economic Forum, titled “The Art of Innovation: Economy of Trust and Business Diplomacy from the Atlantic to the Pacific”, was held in Verona, Italy, on Oct. 25-26, UzDaily reported. A delegation of Uzbekistan ranked second by the number of participants in the forum. The Uzbek delegation included 18 representatives of the business community engaged in the production of textiles, medical equipment, building materials, leather, and tourism. A special session dedicated to the presentation of Uzbekistan’s trade, economic and investment potential, titled “Uzbekistan and Italy: Major Joint Projects,” was organized at the forum by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan and the Italy-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce with the assistance of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Italy. Uzbekistan was the only country invited to present its economic potential at the forum. Tashkent Stock Exchange’s Trade Volume Quadruples Oct. 22-26 trade-week on Uzbekistan’s Toshkent Republican Stock Exchange ended by 95 purchase and sale transactions with shares of 17 joint-stock companies, the press service of the exchange said. As a result, 302.4 million shares worth 10.6 billion soums (over $1.29 million) were sold against 2.3 billion soums (over $280,000) last week. The greatest demand in the past period was used by securities of commercial banks – 98.8 percent share in the weekly turnover. Turkmenistan, Romania Mull Opportunities of Turkmenbashi Seaport Turkmen Foreign Ministry hosted a meeting with Secretary of State of Romanian Foreign Ministry Maria Magdalena Grigore, the Ministry said in a message. During the meeting, prospects for trade and economic cooperation between the two countries were discussed. The role of transport corridors was emphasized. Noting the developed logistics infrastructure of the two countries, the parties discussed opportunities of the Turkmenbashi International Seaport in providing multi-modal transportation, the message said. It was earlier reported that Turkmenistan and Romania agreed to intensify political and diplomatic efforts to sign in the future a political declaration on the establishment of the Caspian Sea-Black Sea transport and transit corridor. It is expected that Constanta may become a point for transshipment to the EU of the goods transported from the Turkmen port of Turkmenbashi, as well as from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the context of ensuring access of goods from Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries to European markets. Ambassador: Denmark Welcomes Collaboration with Azerbaijan in Ports Industry Denmark welcomes collaboration with Azerbaijan in ports industry, Danish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Svend Olling told Trend. He pointed out that the ports industry in Denmark is well renowned and known for its high level of innovative solutions. "Danish engineering companies can provide a wide array of competencies in coastal engineering, port planning, and design and their consultancy is of high quality. This has most recently resulted in the Ramboll Group signing of a billion dollar contract in Algeria," said the envoy. Turkish Companies to Develop Gold Deposits in Uzbekistan Turkey’s Tasyapi company and the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Geology and Mineral Resources signed an agreement on the development of two gold deposits in the Samarkand region on Oct. 25, Uzbek media reported. In accordance with the agreement, the parties will organize joint exploration and development of the Galabulak and Kushtepa fields. During four months, the Turkish company will carry out drilling operations at the facilities, tests for the development of technological regulations and will also develop a preliminary feasibility study of the project for the fields’ development. Capitalization Azerbaijan’s Banking Sector Increases by More Than 10% The capitalization of the banking sector of Azerbaijan in September 2018 amounted to 4.1 billion manats, which is 10.8 percent more than the figure at the beginning of the year, said the report of the Financial Market Supervision Authority. According to the report, the total assets of banks since the beginning of the year increased by 20.6 percent, reaching 29.2 billion manats. In the reporting period, the volume of cash at the disposal of banks amounted to almost 1.38 billion manats, the correspondent accounts at the Central Bank contained 2.4 billion manats and the funds on the nostro accounts (correspondent accounts with other banks) - almost 2.06 billion manats. Bank investments in securities reached 3.37 billion manats (a 34.7 percent increase since the beginning of the year). (Sources: Algemeiner, AP News, Azertag, EuroNews, The National, RFE/RL, Reuters, Russia Today, TASS, Trend.Az, and Xinhua.)

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