Headlines from the Caspian: October 25, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Oct 25, 2022
Security and Policy
Armenia Receives Iranian Delegation while Iran Opens New Consulate in Kapan
On October 22, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received Iranian Minister of Public Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his delegation for an official visit. Abdollahian congratulated Pashinyan on Iran’s opening a consulate general in Kapan, located in Southern Armenia. He also remarked that the purpose of his visit to Armenia was to “define our long-term road map for both countries” with Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzoyan in the fields of economy, trade, and security.
Source: Armenpress, Al Jazeera
Azerbaijan Opens Zangilan International Airport in Zangezur Region
On October 20, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan celebrated the opening of Azerbaijan’s second international airport in the Zangezur region. During the Turkish president’s visit, they commemorated the first private agricultural complex, “Agropark Dost,” and the completion of the first phase of the Gumlag Railway station in the Jaybrayil district. These projects are part of Azerbaijan’s efforts to reconstruct the Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur regions following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
President Aliyev Pays Official Visit to Georgia
On October 24, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited the Georgian city of Mtskheta and met with Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili. Garibashvili, in a joint press conference with Aliyev, introduced his Peaceful Neighbourhood initiative. This Initiative was created to foster a “more fruitful partnership in the South Caucasus. During their meeting, Garibashvili also spoke of the “neighborly, friendly, and strategic partnership” between Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Iran Begins Military Drills Near Azerbaijan Border
The Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran began “massive” military drills in the northeast near its border with Azerbaijan on October 17. The IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said the exercises are intended to show their commitment to border security for neighboring countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said there is a “mutual concern of the regional countries and Tehran opposes the deployment of any foreign forces in the region,” in a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on October 15, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Source: Caspian News
Protesters Arrested in Kyrgyzstan Following Protests over Deal with Uzbekistan
Dozens of activists and politicians have been arrested in Kyrgyzstan following protests. The protesters allegedly objected to a pending border demarcation agreement between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In this agreement, Kyrgyzstan is set to give Uzbekistan control of a reservoir as part of the agreement.
Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Announced EU-Central Asia Summit
On October 24, Vladimir Norov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, tweeted, "Shavkat Mirziyoyev will visit Astana on October 27 to participate in the EU-Central Asia Summit.” He added, “During the week, the President will also receive the President of the European Council @CharlesMichel.”
Iranian and Azerbaijani State TV Channels Exchange Threats
Iranian state-run TV channel Sahar aired a music video threatening Israel with “destruction” and warning Azerbaijan: “Iran declares this so that Azerbaijan knows and understands … anyone who looks at Iran the wrong way must be destroyed.” The music video comes when Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are holding military drills along the country’s border with Azerbaijan. In return, during a special report, Azerbaijan’s state-run AZTV channel accused Iran of staying silent during the 30 years between the two Karabakh wars, the destruction of Azerbaijani houses in Karabakh and stealing the building materials along with Armenian separatists. AZTV also emphasized that there are 30 million ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Iran who “stood up for their rights” following the Second Karabakh war.
Source: Al Arabiya, Twitter
Energy and Economy
Kazakhstan’s Upper House Ratifies Caspian Sea Border Delimitation Agreement
On October 20, Kazakhstan’s Upper House of Senate approved the agreement on the Caspian Sea border with Turkmenistan. This will draw the sea border between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, delimiting their territorial waters and demarking their maritime border.
Source: Anadolu Agency
Azerbaijan Announces Plans for Increased Energy Cooperation with Georgia
During Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Georgia, he announced plans for increased energy projects with Georgia. According to Aliyev, this will entail increasing energy exports through pipelines that run through Georgia. This would entail an increased flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines. Doing so would, in turn, increase Azerbaijan’s trade turnover in Georgia. “Operationally, these projects are very successful, and we look forward to launching new projects to increase natural gas exports to international markets. We are going to export 22 million cubic tonnes and increase this volume in the coming years,” Aliyev said.
Trade Between Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Economic Union Exceeds $17 billion
During an expanded meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov announced that the volume of trade between Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) exceeded $17 billion between January and August this year. Smailov said that this number is five percent higher than the trade volume in the same period last year despite the challenges. "In general, Kazakhstan's exports to the EAEU countries increased by 35%,” Smailov added.
Source: Vestnik Kavkaza
Uzbekistan’s Law Enforcement Prepares for Crypto and Dark Web Investigations
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) began working with Uzbekistan’s Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service to train law-enforcement officers on crypto and dark web investigations. The OSCE Transnational Threats Department, in collaboration with the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, hosted the training course between October 17 and 21, practicing methods for the seizure of crypto assets, blockchain analysis, dark web searching, and Tor networks.
Sources: Agenda.ge, Al Jazeera, Anadolu Agency, Armenpress, Bitcoin.com, Caspian News, Eurasianet, Trend.az, Vestnik Kavkaza