Headlines from the Caspian: November 7, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Nov 6, 2023
Energy and Economy
Kazakhstan and China Deepen Cooperation at Import Expo in Shanghai
On November 5, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov spoke at the 6th China International Import Expo in Shanghai, detailing potential areas of cooperation between the two countries. Over 30 Kazakh enterprises participated in the event. Kazakhstan and China signed over 21 protocols for exporting Kazakh agricultural and food products to China. “The export potential for vegetable oils and meal alone sums up $300 million,” said Arman Shakkaliyev, the Minister of Trade and Integration.
Source: Astana Times
Kazakhstan and Hungary to Boost Bilateral Trade
On November 2, the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban arrived in Astana. During his meeting with Kazakhstan Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, the parties discussed the plan to strengthen cooperation in multiple sectors, including energy, renewable resources, and transportation. The Kazakh side expressed its readiness to increase exports to Hungary by $700 million with 95 types of goods.
Source: Astana Times
Security and Politics
German Foreign Minister Visits Armenia and Azerbaijan
On November 3- 4, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited both Armenia and Azerbaijan as part of a diplomatic trip related to the ongoing peace and normalization talks between the two South Caucasus countries. During her trip, she pressed the continued need for negotiations and suggested that talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel would be a viable path forward. Minister Baerbock also expressed concern over whether some actors were “honest brokers.”
Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu to Visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
The U.S. Department of State announced that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu will travel to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and India on November 4-11 to build on the momentum set at the C5+1 meeting in New York in September. To start off the trip, on November 5, Assistant Secretary Lu attended the U.S.-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue (ESPD) in Astana; he then travelled to Uzbekistan for the U.S.-Uzbekistan Strategic Partnership Dialogue (SPD).
Source: U.S. Department of State
Secretary of State Blinken Visits Türkiye for Israel-Gaza Talks
On November 6, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Türkiye to meet with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of his Middle East tour aimed at easing regional tensions over the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. On his arrival, Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Ankara where they discussed the release of Israeli hostages, humanitarian aid, and the need for a “humanitarian pause.”
The Summit of the Organization of Turkic States was Held in Astana
On November 3, Kazakhstan hosted the 10th summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) which brought Presidents of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan together in Astana. The meeting was also attended by the heads of the observer states, including the Prime Minister of Hungary and the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty (parliament) of Turkmenistan. The countries reaffirmed their commitment to the organization and stressed their unified Turkic identities. Member states are optimistic about the future of the organization with trade turnover among member states reaching $22 billion in 2023. The summit focused on positive trends of the organization and future areas of cooperation.
Source: Astana Times
Occupied Abkhazia to Potentially Join a Union State of Russia and Belarus
On November 1, the de-facto legislature of occupied Abkhazia was set to hold an extended meeting of the “Committee on International, Interparliamentary Relations, and Relations with Compatriots” to discuss Abkhazia’s readiness to join a Union State with Russia and Belarus. High Abkhazian officials have repeatedly expressed interest in joining this Union State, however, this particular meeting did not take place because top diplomat Inal Ardzinba was reportedly on a business trip.
French President Macron Visits Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
On November 1, French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a two-day working trip to Central Asia, visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In Kazakhstan, President Macron and President Tokayev signed agreements in sectors ranging from critical minerals to pharmaceuticals, engineering, and aerospace totaling over $1.4 billion. In Uzbekistan, Macron signed bilateral agreements with his counterpart President Mirziyoyev in the fields of finance, education, and culture.
President Vladimir Putin to Visit Kazakhstan This Week
The Kazakh Presidential Press Service has announced that on November 9 Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Almaty, Kazakhstan. There, he will hold talks with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev focusing on bilateral cooperation and the two countries’ strategic partnership. The leaders will also participate virtually in the 19th Kazakh-Russian Forum on interregional cooperation, held at the same time as the presidential meeting.
Iranian President to Visit Tajikistan
On November 7, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will pay a two-day visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Raisi is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, followed by a wider meeting with delegations. Additionally, Tajikistan's Committee for Investment and State Property Management reported that a business forum for entrepreneurs from the two countries will be held in Dushanbe on November 8-9.
Source: Tehran Times
Sources: AlJazeera, Astana Times, Caspian News, Civil.ge, Kazakh Invest, Le Monde, Reuters, RFE/RL, The Diplomatic Insight, Tehran Times, US Department of State