Headlines from the Caspian: May 1, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
May 1, 2023
Energy and Economy
Investors Give $700 Million to Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl Region
During Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl Economic and Investment Forum 2023 on April 26-27 in Taraz, investors from Germany, Hungary, India, and Singapore signed investment agreements on the construction of ferroalloy and cement plants, the production of building materials, solar power plants, and a food factory in the Zhambyl region. More than 1000 international and domestic companies attended the forum to discuss and establish new investment projects in Kazakhstan.
Source: Astana Times
Azerbaijan to Start Pumping Gas to Slovakia and Hungary by the End of 2023
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev announced that by the end of 2023, through new interconnector pipelines, Azerbaijan will begin transporting gas to Hungary and Slovakia. He added that Azerbaijan will continue to negotiate with Albania and Slovakia on the construction of a new local gas distribution system.
Source: Caspian Barrel
Russia Temporarily Suspends Gas Exports to Armenia
From May 1 to May 4, Russia will temporarily halt its gas exports to Armenia as the North Caucasus-Transcaucasia Pipeline undergoes repairs in the Stavropol Territory of Russia. After May 4, Gazprom will resume exports.
Georgia’s Ministry of Finance Denies Reports of Violations of Sanctions on Russia
On May 1, the Ministry of Finance of Georgia denied unspecified media reports on the territory of Georgia being used for violations of sanctions imposed by the international community against Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine. According to the ministry’s statement, Georgia is “fully complying with established rules and strictly monitoring all types of customs operations across borders.” Last week, James O'Brien, the Head of the Office of the Sanctions Coordination at the U. S. Department of State, said that the transit of “some electronic goods” to Russia had “increased significantly,” including from Georgia.
Security and Politics
Secretary Blinken Holds Talks with Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers
On May 1, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in Washington, DC. Secretary Blinken first held separate meetings with each foreign minister, which was followed by a meeting between Mirzoyan and Bayramov themselves discussing the draft of a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Source: Azernews, Vestnik Kavkaza
Armenia, Kazakhstan, China, and Türkiye Vote to Recognize Russia as an Aggressor Against Georgia and Ukraine
On April 26, at a United Nation’s General Assembly, for the first time, Armenia voted in favor of recognizing Russia as an aggressor against Georgia and Ukraine in a resolution on the ‘Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe.’ This resolution calls for strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe “to restore and maintain peace based on respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of any State.” Kazakhstan, China, and Türkiye also voted in favor of adopting this resolution.
Source: United Nations Digital Library
Secretary Blinken Discusses with Armenian and Azerbaijani Heads of State
On April 30, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held phone-call discussions with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. In both discussions, Blinken emphasized the importance of the ongoing peace discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and pledged U.S. support to a process of “direct dialogue and diplomacy.” Blinken also urged Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin Corridor to commercial and private vehicles.
Source: Department of State, Department of State
Uzbekistan’s Constitutional Referendum Receives Sweeping Support
On May 1, Uzbekistan’s Central Election Commission reported that the constitutional reforms, notably introducing changes in areas of human rights and the presidential term of office, were passed with an overwhelming majority of 90.21% of the popular vote. During Uzbekistan’s constitutional referendum on April 30, the voter turnout was 84.54%.
Source: Nikkei Asia
Russian Defense Minister to Fortify Moscow’s Central Asia Bases
During a meeting of Defense Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries in New Delhi on April 29, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that "Russia will increase combat readiness of its bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan amid U.S. attempts to restore a presence in Central Asia."
Source: AKI Press
Sources: Agenda, Astana Times, Azernews, Caspian Barrel, Department of State, Nikkei Asia, Trend News, United Nations Digital Library, Vestnik Kavkaza