Headlines from the Caspian: July 24, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Jul 24, 2023
Energy and Economy
Sanctions Placed on Several Kyrgyz Companies
The United States Department of the Treasury announced economic sanctions on four Kyrgyz companies due to their willingness to export dual-use products to Russia. U.S. officials were explicitly concerned about the export of Chinese consumer-grade drones, and other high-tech products, to Russia. Kyrgyz officials have responded by claiming these sanctions are unfair, and Kyrgyzstan is being singled out.
Kazakhstan to Increase Trans-Caspian Cargo Traffic
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, announced during his speech at the first Central Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit that Astana is poised to make significant increases in cargo shipments through the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR). Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the TITR has played an essential role in increasing Kazakhstan’s economic security and diversifying regional trade.
Source: Caspian News
U.S. FDI in Kazakhstan Increases by 82% in 2022
On July 20, at a roundtable discussion with members of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Business Council, the Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan announced that the foreign direct investment (FDI) from the United States to Kazakhstan increased by 82% in 2022, amounting to $5.1 billion.
Azerbaijan Signs an LNG Agreement with Pakistan
On July 24, Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) signed an agreement with the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) for the import of low-cost liquefied natural gas (LNG) on flexible terms for a period of one year. According to the agreement, Azerbaijan will provide Pakistan with 12 low-cost LNG cargoes annually. “SOCAR will offer an LNG cargo to Pakistan every month and Pakistan would decide whether we have to buy this cargo at this price,” Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif said during the ceremony.
Source: Arab News
Cargo Shipped Through the Aktau Port Increased by 23%
The cargo transported through the Aktau port of Kazakhstan this year has reached over two million tons, increasing by 23%. Aktau port, as one of the main corridors of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) with a total of 12 million tons capacity, plans to strengthen the cargo volume of the TITR and reach the full potential of the port by building a container hub within the next two years.
Source: Astana Times
Uzbekistan Approves $500 Million Joint Investment Fund with Azerbaijan
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved the establishment of a $500 million joint investment fund with Azerbaijan. The agreement was initially signed on February 24, 2023, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signing in May. Azerbaijan will own 75% of the joint fund, with Uzbekistan owning 25%.
Security and Politics
The First Central Asia – Gulf Cooperation Council Summit was Held in Jeddah
On July 19, the Presidents of the five Central Asian countries visited Jeddah to attend the first Central Asia – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit. During the summit, the GCC member states and Central Asian states discussed forming a closer bilateral relationship, strengthening economic cooperation, and creating an active political communication platform. The launching of the first summit plays an important role in bringing Central Asia and GCC relations to a new phase and shifting Central Asian geopolitics.
Moscow to Host Upcoming Talks Between Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan
On July 24, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia are expected to hold talks in the trilateral format in Moscow on July 25. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also expected to hold separate bilateral talks with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan.
President of Kyrgyzstan Passes Law for officials to speak Kyrgyz for Official Purposes
Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov recently passed a law that will require officials to use the Kyrgyz language for official purposes. The law will extend to state and local governing bodies and other organizations. It will also require radio and television channels to have at least 60% of their programming in Kyrgyz.
Sources: Arab News, Armenpress, Azernews, Caspian News, Eurasianet, Kazinform, RFE/RL, The Astana Times, Trend News Agency