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headlines from the caspian: may 28, 2024

Headlines from the Caspian: May 28, 2024

Author: Caspian Policy Center

May 28, 2024

Image source: pbs.org

Energy and Economy

 

Russia to Build Nuclear Power Plant in Uzbekistan 

Russia and Uzbekistan signed an accord on May 28 for Russia to build what would be Central Asia’s first post-independence nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan. The agreement came after official meetings in Tashkent between Presidents Putin and Mirziyoyev. President Putin also made promises to increase gas deliveries to Uzbekistan in the near future. 

Source: AP News 

Kazakh Official Announces Plan to Boost Petrochemical Products by 75%

On May 28, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Almasadam Satkaliyev announced that the country aims to boost the production of petrochemical products to 628,300 tons in 2024, a 75% increase from 2023. This is part of a larger investment plan to create several new petrochemical projects by 2029, worth a combined $14.3 billion.

Source: Astana Times

Deadly Floods in Armenia and Georgia Claim the Lives of Four People

On May 26, flooding caused by heavy rains and rivers bursting their banks in northern Armenia and Georgia claimed the lives of at least four people. Hundreds of homes have been flooded, and 230 rescue workers have been dispatched to the area. The Russian Ministry of Defense offered help to Armenia to mitigate the impact of the flooding, although Armenia has not publicly requested help from Russia.

Source: Reuters, RFE/RL, ISW

Kazakhstan and Türkiye Set $10 Billion as 2024 Trade Target

On May 20, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with Chair of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye Numan Kurtulmuş in Astana, Kazakhstan. The meeting focused on boosting economic relations between the two countries and deepening cooperation among members of the Organization of Turkic States. During the meeting, Tokayev stated that the goal for Kazakh-Turkish trade turnover in 2024 was $10 billion. According to Tokayev, 2023’s turnover amounted to $6 billion.

Source: Astana Times, Daryo

Kazakhstan’s Kashagan Field Sees 2% Output Decline for Q1

Kazakhstan’s state oil company KazMunayGaz revealed a 2% decline in net output from Kashagan to 65,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter against the same period last year. At the same time, KazMunayGaz’ overall oil and condensate production increased by over 2% for the first quarter to 506,000 bpd. Production at the Tengiz oil field increased by over 2% to 125,000 bpd, and at Karachaganak, production grew by almost 4% to 24,300 bpd.

Source: Upstream Online

Kazakhstan and Malaysia Sign Agreements Worth over $350 Million

During a May 17 investment roundtable in Astana, businesses from Kazakhstan and Malaysia signed agreements worth over $350 million. Both sides agreed to collaborate in the food industry, mining, gold processing, and the joint production of transformer and automobile oil. Currently, 48 companies with Malaysian capital operate in Kazakhstan, and, last year, bilateral trade turnover increased from $150 million to about $245 million. 

Source: Astana Times

Security and Politics

 

President Biden Congratulates Aliyev on Independence Day 

On May 25, U.S. President Joseph Biden sent a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev congratulating the latter and the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of Azerbaijan’s Independence Day. In the letter, President Biden emphasized the partnership between the two countries on shared interests, including energy security, regional security, combating terrorism, and showed appreciation for Azerbaijan’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine amidst the ongoing war. Biden also reaffirmed United States’ support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and showed readiness to working with Azerbaijan on shared climate goals at COP29, as well as on the peace efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Source: President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Georgian Parliament Set to Override Presidential Veto on Foreign Agents Bill

On May 28, Georgia’s parliament is set to vote once again on a controversial piece of legislation that would force non-governmental organizations receiving substantial foreign donations to declare themselves “organizations operating on behalf of a foreign power.” Today’s vote will most likely override the veto of President Salome Zourabichvili, who opposes the law. The foreign agents bill has led to mass protest within Georgia, as well as criticism by European and American officials. Opponents warn the bill will derail Georgia’s long-running EU aspirations. U. S. officials have stated that if the bill passes, Washington will place sanctions and visa-bans on appropriate Georgian elites.

Sources: RFE/RL, Politico

“Tavush for the Homeland” Protests Continue, Announces Archbishop Galstanyan as Prime Ministerial Candidate

Protests continue in Yerevan, Armenia, in response to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s decision to unliterally hand over four border villages in the Tavush region to Azerbaijan. The villages had been part of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic until the first Nagorno-Karabakh war of the early1990s. Residents of the region have launched the “Tavush for the Homeland” protest movement in response and continue to gather thousands to the streets of Yerevan. The charismatic Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan has led the movement and on May 26 was announced as the movement's Prime Ministerial candidate. Elections are slated for 2026.

Source: JAM News

Under Secretary Uzra Zeya Visits Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya will travel to Astana and Tashkent May 19-23. Zeya is leading a U.S. delegation to engage in meetings with officials and civil society focused on support for human rights and democratic reforms in the two countries. 

Source: U.S. Department of State

Riots in Kyrgyzstan Target South Asian Students

Unprecedented waves of violence against Indian and Pakistani university students have rocked Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The mob attacks began on May 18 and appear to have been triggered by viral videos of Kyrgyz mobs harassing and attacking South Asian students filmed on May 13. So far, 29 South Asian students have been injured with 15 taken to hospitals. Around 1,200 South Asian students have now reportedly left Kyrgyzstan.

Source: RFE/RL

Sources: Astana Times, AP News, Daryo, Jam News, ISW, Politico, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, OC Media, Reuters, RFE/RL, U.S. Department of State, Upstream Online.


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