Headlines from the Caspian: January 18, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Jan 18, 2022
Energy and Economy
Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power launch $300M Wind Farm Project
A ceremony for a wind power facility in Azerbaijan's Absheron and Khizi areas brought together authorities from Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to get $300 million from ACWA Power, which is partly controlled by Saudi Arabia's sovereign Public Investment Fund. According to President Aliyev, it will be Azerbaijan's biggest power plant in the renewable energy industry. The project is to help the country's energy security while also creating a lot of jobs. The facility will be operational in the third quarter of 2023.
Source: Caspian News
Turkmenistan to Start Supplying Swap Gas to Azerbaijan via Iran in Early 2022
The natural gas swap agreement between Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan for up to 2 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas is projected to go into force in early 2022. The agreement, which calls for natural gas to be delivered from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan via Iranian territory, was endorsed by the presidents of the three nations on November 28, 2021. This contract might aid Iran and Turkmenistan in reaching an agreement to settle the 2016 gas debt issue, when Ashgabat claimed Tehran owed $1.5 billion for gas it delivered from Turkmenistan.
Source: Caspian News
A new model for combating poverty introduced in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is implementing a new approach to overcoming poverty “Products for work.” The World Food Program, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Migration, has launched a state program of short-term training and consultations. The program mainly focuses on the agricultural sector. To date, professional lyceums offer 68 practical courses as part of the training program.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan Officials Discuss Infrastructure Projects
Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi headed a delegation to Ashgabat on January 14 to discuss three infrastructure projects: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, gas pipeline; the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan, or TAP, high-voltage power transmission line, and new railway connections between the countries. The Afghan Foreign Ministry said that technical specialists from the two countries would meet for consultations on January 22 and that work on continuing construction of the pipeline, power and railway projects will resume in March.
Kazakhstan to impose restrictions on cryptocurrency miners amid electricity shortages
Amid a major energy deficit, Kazakhstan's national grid operator has started rationing power to the country's top customers. A total of 250,000 mining devices consume vast amounts of energy. As a result of the power constraints, the country is imposing restrictions on crypto miners.
Security and Politics
Azerbaijani and Ukrainian Presidents Meet
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met in Kyiv and discussed energy, infrastructure, transport, military-technical cooperation and emphasized mutual support and protection of each other's territorial integrity.
Armenian and Turkish Envoys Meet to Normalize Relations
Armenian and Turkish delegations met in Moscow on January 14 to begin the first-ever talks to normalize relations between the two countries. The border between Armenia and Turkey has remained close since Armenia occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1993, which were internationally recognized to belong to Azerbaijan. The two delegations will have to overcome significant disagreements over the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide.
Russian-Led CSTO Begins to Depart Troops from Kazakhstan
Russian-led CSTO troops withdrew from Kazakhstan after days of unrest sparked by a fuel price hike spread throughout the country. CSTO troops arrived in Kazakhstan shortly after President Tokayev declared a state of emergency and requested CSTO troops to quell violence. Tokayev justified his request for CSTO troop assistance with unsubstantiated claims that foreign-trained terrorists were leading the unrest. Full CSTO troop withdrawal from Kazakhstan is expected to occur later this week.
Tajikistan Warns of Military Buildup on Shared Border with Afghanistan
Tajikistan has raised alarm that thousands of militants are supposedly gathering on its shared border with Afghanistan. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon warned his fellow leaders of the CSTO that Tajikistan identified over 40 terrorist camps and training camps located on the border housing nearly 6,000 militants. Taliban representatives have denied Tajik claims, instead pushing for the return of military planes to Afghanistan that were used to repatriate citizens and troops back to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan during the Taliban takeover last summer.
Turkmenistan Further Tightens Internet Security Regulations Amid Kazakhstan Unrest
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ordered additional internet security measures and directed the National Security Ministry to identify internet users that post damaging remarks to Turkmenistan and its security apparatus. The announcement comes as Kazakhstan shut off internet access for five days to disrupt protest efforts across the country. Turkmenistan already has the slowest internet speed out of all 224 countries surveyed by the U.K.-based Cable.co.uk in 2021.
Azerbaijan and Montenegro Mull Strategic Partnership
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and President of the Parliament of Montenegro Aleksa Bečić met to discuss enhancing their countries’ bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership. The two leaders noted that the relationship already resembles a strategic partnership due to the strong cooperation in the economic, trade, transport, and energy sectors. Bečić stressed the need to sign a document to affirm the strategic partnership.
(Sources: Azernews, Eurasianet, Caspian News, news.az, RFE/RL, 24kg.)