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headlines from the caspian: march 25, 2024

Headlines from the Caspian: March 25, 2024

Author: Caspian Policy Center

Mar 25, 2024

Image source: Kat72 via Shutterstock.com.

Energy and Economy


Rosatom and Kyrgyzstan Sign Agreement on the Construction of Small Hydropower Plants

The Ministry of Energy of Kyrgyzstan and the Country Office of Rosatom Corporation in Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement on the construction of small hydropower plants at the ATOMEXPO 2024 Forum in Sochi. The two sides agreed to implement the construction of small hydropower plants with a capacity under 400 MW in Kyrgyzstan.

Source: AkiPress

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan Agree to Install Transboundary Water Meters

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced that it had reached an agreement to install water meters in Uzbekistan and that Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources would do the same in Kazakhstan. The announcement comes as experts continue to highlight Central Asia’s water insecurity, a threat exacerbated by climate change. Accurate shared data will allow the countries to make better decisions about the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources. The agreement illustrates how climate change provides an opportunity for international collaboration on solutions, including the sustainable management of water supplies. 

Source: The Diplomat 

President Tokayev Receives Foreign Minister of Cyprus to Discuss Economic Relations

Cyprus's Foreign Minister, Constantinos Kombos, met with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana on March 25. The leaders discussed expanding existing diplomatic relations and increasing their bilateral economic relations, as well as cooperation in trade, investment, and emerging technologies. 

Source: Astana Times

Turkmenistan and Italy Sign Cooperation Agreement

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, accompanied by a Turkmen delegation, visited Rome on March 20. There, he met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Antonio Tajani. The leaders discussed political, economic, and cultural bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional and international agendas. 

Source: AKI Press

Security and politics


Shooters in Crocus City Attack Tajik Nationals, Anti-Central Asian Sentiment Now Rising in Russia

Following the March 23 attack on the Crocus City concert hall just outside of Moscow that killed roughly 140 people, Russian security forces apprehended 11 people they believe responsible for the terror attack, including four shooters. The 11 suspects are reportedly citizens of Tajikistan. Days since have seen a number of what are likely racially motivated attacks, including the assault of three Tajik men in the Russian city of Kaluga and an arson attack on a cafeteria run by Tajik migrants in the eastern city of Blagoveshchensk. Dozens of Kyrgyz men were detained upon arrival at the Sheremetyevo Moscow airport on March 23, where the travelers were reportedly held for 24 hours without food or water. The Afghanistan-based branch of ISIS claimed responsibility for the Crocus City attacks.

Source: RFE/RL

Pashinyan States Demarcation of Armenia-Azerbaijan Border has Begun

While speaking in the border region of Tavush on March 18, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that work had begun to demarcate the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The two countries have a joint working group devoted to the issue of border demarcation. While speaking, Pashinyan stated that the main goal of the process was to “avoid war” with Azerbaijan. Peace talks between Yerevan and Baku have been highly contentious in recent weeks, with violence flaring in the border region in February.

Source: RFE/RL

Kyrgyz and International NGOs Urge Japarov to Veto “Foreign Representatives” Bill

More than 100 Kyrgyz NGOs have now called upon Kyrgyz President Japarov to withdraw a bill that they say would severely limit their operations in the country. The bill, modeled explicitly on Russia’s “foreign agent” laws, would require NGOs to register with the government as foreign representatives and routinely report on their activities. The United States, European Union, and Canada released a statement condemning the bill, which closely resembles laws in Russia that have been found to violate the rights to freedom of association and freedom of speech by the European Court of Human Rights. If signed by Japarov, the new law is expected to have a chilling effect on the operation of Kyrgyz NGOs, many of which provide important social services and advocate for democratic governance and human rights. 

Source: Radio Free Europe, Human Rights Watch

The United Nations and Turkmenistan Sign Cooperation Agreement 

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director General Gerd Müller and the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov signed a Basic Cooperation Agreement on March 25. This agreement details the provisions of UNIDO’s technical assistance to Turkmenistan’s industrial development and “paves the way for new concrete technical cooperation activities,” according to Minister Meredov. 

Source: SME Street

Georgian PM Kobakhidze Visits Armenia

On March 25, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze embarked on an official visit to Armenia. In Yerevan, Kobakhidze held meetings with his Armenian counterpart Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The two sides discussed cooperation in various fields and support for each other’s territorial integrity, as well as normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Source: 1TV Georgia

Armenia Agrees to Return Four Villages to Azerbaijan

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia has announced his country's willingness to officially return four villages to Azerbaijan. The four villages had belonged to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic during the Soviet era, but were occupied by Armenia after the outbreak of the first Nagorno-Karabakh war of the 1990s. Speaking on March 18, Prime Minister Pashinyan claimed the decision was made to avoid further violence with Azerbaijan, saying, “Our policy is that we must prevent a war — we must not allow a war to start.” Baku has long insisted on the unilateral return of these villages.

Source: ReutersPolitic

Sources: 1TV Georgia, AKI Press, Astana Times, The Diplomat, Human Rights Watch, Politico, RFE/RL, Reuters, SME Street

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