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headlines from the caspian: january 17, 2024

Headlines from the Caspian: January 17, 2024

Author: Caspian Policy Center

Jan 16, 2024

Image source: Journal of Nomads

Energy and Economy

 

Air Astana Moves toward IPO

Kazakh Airline, Air Astana, announced its plans to take the company public. Toward this goal, dual shareholders, Samruk Kazyna (Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund) and UK-based BAe systems, have agreed to divest shares and global depositary receipts (GDRs). Currently, Samruk Kazyna holds a 51% stake in the airline and BAe Systems holds 49%. Air Astana’s announcement indicated the company’s intentions to move forward with its Initial Public Offering (IPO), thus entering the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Astana International Exchange (AIX), and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE). Peter Foster, Air Astana Group President and CEO, remarked that this move will “accelerate the next stage of growth for the Air Astana Group, and we see significant opportunities to thicken our existing routes and expand into new geographic areas, supported by our continued fleet expansion plan and initiatives to increase operational flexibility.”

Source: CH-Aviation, Airport Technology

Azerbaijan Releases Economic Figures for 2023

The State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan has released a series of figures, for 2023, including an updated GDP. According to this report, the economy reportedly grew by 1%, while value in the country’s oil and gas sector decreased by 1.7%. Collectively, non-oil and gas sectors increased by 3.7%. Industry was found to account for 40.5% of the GDP, by far the largest sector of the economy. GDP per capita was found to be 12,114.5 manats ($7,128.43). 

Source: Aze.media

Security and Politics

 

U.S. Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption Travels to Armenia and Georgia

On January 15, Richard Nephew, the U.S. Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption, embarked on a three-day trip to Armenia and Georgia to discuss tackling corruption and identify more avenues for working together with the United States. In Armenia, Nephews will participate in a roundtable focusing on civil society, as well as meet with members of the justice sector and law enforcement. In Georgia, Nephews will meet with government officials, members of anti-corruption institutions, investigative bodies, and civil society representatives.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Georgian Delegation Launches China Trip

A delegation of Georgian Dream party members has begun its January 14-20 trip to China. As of the date of this writing, the delegation has met with several Chinese policy elites, including Xiao Jie, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and Liu Jianchao, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Department. This trip commemorates the first anniversary of the Strategic Partnership Agreement the two countries signed in 2023. Topics of conversation were planned to include implementing the partnership agreement, supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity, and Georgia’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the sole China.

Source: Civil.ge

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Reach 38.35 km Border Demarcation Agreement 

After working groups convened in Batken January 10 – 16, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have reached a significant agreement over a 38.35 km stretch of their shared border. The topographic groups signed a protocol outlining the border delimitation of the area.  They will reconvene in Tajikistan at a later date to negotiate on remaining areas that still require legal demarcation. 

Source: AKI Press 

Kazakhstan and China Negotiate Water-Management Agreements 

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Water Resources is in talks with China to address water management and usage challenges as the region grapples with depleting river levels. Astana has tasked a working group of 20 members to engage in negotiations with Chinese officials about shared water resources, including the Irtysh, Khorgos, and Ili rivers. Despite past disputes between the two countries over water-sharing practices, the working groups were able to reach several agreements in late December regarding the issue and plan to continue negotiations this year.

Source: EurasiaNet

Concern Around Tajik Nationals Involvement in IS-K

Iranian intelligence has claimed that the individual responsible for planning and manufacturing bombs used in the January 3 Islamic State-Khorasan attack near the grave of former IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani was a Tajik national who crossed illegally into Iran. Taliban-affiliated media have claimed both attackers responsible for the bombing were Tajik nationals. Tajik citizens who have become members of extremist groups have previously been reported to have committed terrorist attacks or been arrested on suspicion of plans to commit acts of terror in Europe, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Source: Al Jazeerah, BNE Intellinews 

Sources: Airport Technology, AKI Press, Al-Jazeera, Aze.media, BNE Intellinews, CH-Aviation, EurasiaNet, U.S. Department of State


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