Headlines from the Caspian: September 13, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Sep 13, 2022
Security and Politics
U.S. Chief Advisor on Caucasus Relations Embarks on Visit to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia
U.S. Chief Advisor on Caucasus Relations, Philip Reeker, has begun his first official tour of the region. First Deputy Press Secretary of the U.S. State Department, Vedant Patel stated, “We expect to make regular trips to this region....In all three countries, they will discuss the main issues in the region. He will also meet with senior officials to seek ways to help partners, resolve outstanding issues, and cooperate directly and constructively on regional relations in the future.”
Source: Caucasus Watch
Georgian Prime Minister and Senior U.S. State Department Advisor Meet to Discuss Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and the Senior Adviser of the United States Department of State for Caucasus Negotiations and the Geneva International Discussions, Philip Reeker, met in Tbilisi on September 12 to discuss regional and global security challenges in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Garibashvili highlighted his concerns over Georgia's Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and that it is “critically important to resolve conflicts peacefully.” Reeker assured Prime Minister Garibashvili of “the strong support of the United States for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili were also present during discussions.
Xi Jinping’s visit to the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a visit to the neighboring Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan this month in what would be his first overseas visits since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019. Xi Jinping’s is planning to meet with Vladimir Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, September 15-16, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's summit. Leaders of China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are expected to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
U.S. to Provide $2 Million in Humanitarian Demining Assistance for the South Caucasus
The U.S. Office of the Spokesperson announced on September 11 that the United States will provide $2 million in aid for demining initiatives in areas in the South Caucasus affected by Azerbaijani and Armenian conflict since fighting broke out in 2020. Landmines in the area continue to pose a danger to civilians in the region, restricting efforts for resettlement and development. The money is building on the $500,000 in aid that the United States announced in November 2021.
Source: U.S. Department of State
Energy and Economy
Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia Sign Declaration on the North-South Transport Corridor
On September 9, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Rostam Ghasemi, and Azerbaijan Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev met in Baku to discuss their readiness to increase cooperation and develop transport infrastructure. Additionally, the three states set a target cargo transit volume of 30 million tons by 2030, they agreed to continue talks on the Rasht-Astara railway project in the next month, and they discussed the creation of a transport-logistics hub in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. This is a major step to reach the potential of the North-South Corridor and it will greatly increase the economic activity of the states involved.
Azerbaijan to Increase Energy Exports to Europe by 30 PercentAzerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov stated that from January to September Azerbaijan "supplied to Europe 7.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas" which is on track to “amount to 12 billion cubic meters" by the end of the year; a 31 percent increase compared to 2021. He also reported a 10 percent increase in gas production. This announcement follows European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s proposal to put a cap on Russian energy imports.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia Discuss Cooperation and Investment Projects
On September 8, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov met with Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Fund Development Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad to discuss investment development projects in the areas of energy, the gas chemical industry, agriculture, and water management. They both emphasized the potential for strengthened cooperation and investment partnership. On the same day, Meredov also met with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji to discuss bilateral relations.
Source: Arab News