Media Highlights of the Week
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Apr 9, 2019
Baku Int’l Sea Trade Port to Have Biggest Share in Azerbaijan’s Non-Oil Sector Logistic Hub is one of the important projects in the development of the non-oil segment of the Azerbaijani economy, department head of the Baku International Sea Trade Port Khudayar Hasanli told Trend as part of the project “PREZİDENT. Müstəqillik. Təhlükəsizlik. Rifah.” He said that the non-oil sector is developing in Azerbaijan, and the Logistic Hub is one of the biggest projects being implemented in this sphere. Tajikistan Postponing Next Dam Project Government sources in Tajikistan have revealed that the next stage of the giant Roghun hydropower dam has been postponed in a fresh indication that not all is well with the project. Asia-Plus newspaper cited an unnamed official as saying that the launch of the second generating unit at Roghun is not going to take place in April, as had previously been expected. “It will not happen this month for sure. We will give information about the exact time of the launch of the unit at a later time,” the source told Asia-Plus. SOCAR Plans to Build New Primary Oil Refining Unit at Baku Oil Refinery Azerbaijan’s state-owned SOCAR plans to build a new primary oil refining unit on the territory of Baku Oil Refinery named after Heydar Aliyev, Tofig Gahramanov, vice-president for strategic development at SOCAR, told reporters. According to Gahramanov, as part of the modernization of the Baku Oil Refinery, it was planned to move the unit with a capacity of 2 million tons per year from the territory of the former Azneftyag refinery to the Baku Oil Refinery in order to increase the capacity of the primary oil refining unit to 7.5 million tons per year. Zenith Energy Raises Capital for Drilling Activities in Azerbaijan Canada’s Zenith Energy, which is the operator for development of Muradkhanli-Jafarli-Zardab block of onshore oil fields in Azerbaijan, has completed one offering in the United Kingdom and plans to complete another financing in Canada. The financings have been negotiated with a consortium of private and institutional investors and have raised an aggregate total amount of approximately $1,330,238.10, reads a message from Zenith Energy.
Over 100 Afghans Killed in Clashes Within Two Days Amid Peace Efforts More than 100 fighters mostly militants have been killed in fighting for the control of the strategically important Bala Murghab district in western Afghanistan's Badghis province over the past 48 hours amid peace efforts for Afghanistan's prolonged conflicts, warring sides said Monday. A statement released by the 207 Zafar Corps in the western region claimed killing 99 militants in and around the besieged Bala Murghab district since Saturday. Kazakh President Makes New Appointments The new President of Kazakhstan Qassym-Jomart Toqayev made several personnel changes among Kazakhstan’s political leadership. Former Commander-in-Chief of the Land Force of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan Murat Bektanov is now First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Former Head of the Military Security and Defense Department of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakyt Kurmanbayev will now serve as Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan. President Toqayev also appointed Marat Orazayev as Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Almaz Nurazkhan as Director of the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. China’s NPC Delegation Visits Armenia A delegation led by Shen Yueyue, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China, wrapped up a three-day visit to Armenia on April 6. During the visit at the invitation of the National Assembly of Armenia from Thursday to Saturday, Shen met respectively with the Armenian President, Prime Minister, and President of the National Assembly, and held talks with Vice President of the National Assembly. In recent years, China and Armenia both witnessed a healthy and steady growth of friendly ties, and closer cooperation in such areas as economy, trade, infrastructure, and people-to-people exchanges, Shen said during her meetings with the Armenian leaders. South Korean President to Visit Central Asia President Moon Jae-In of South Korea will visit Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan over the course of eight days starting April 16. He plans to meet with each country’s head of state to discuss ways to promote further cooperation, particularly in the economic sphere. This will be President Moon’s first visit to all three states since taking office in 2017. Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia Sign Military Cooperation Agreement Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Colonel General Najmeddin Sadikov visited Riyadh and met with his Saudi counterpart General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili. The two discussed developing relationships between their armies and signed the “Agreement on cooperation in the military field between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia Meet Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on April 6. Minister Mammadyarov was visiting Moscow to attend a meeting of the CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The two Foreign Ministers discussed issues of mutual interest and expressed their satisfaction with the high level of political dialogue between their countries. Belarussian and Turkmen Foreign Ministries Adopt Program of Cooperation Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov met on April 5 and signed a program of cooperation between their ministries. The two were in Moscow attending the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers. President of Turkey to Visited Russia President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia on April 8. The talks will mainly focus on Turkish-Russian bilateral relations. Working Group on the Caspian Sea to Hold Meeting The High-Level Working Group on the Caspian Sea will hold its next meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan from April 16 to 17. Delegations from all five Caspian littoral states, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan, will be attending.
Russian Company Implements Project of Smart Town in Uzbek Region The Russian group of companies "Polyplastic" will create a "smart city" in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, according to the data of Uzbekistan National Project Management Agency (NPMA). Following the meeting of representatives of “Polyplastic,” NPMA and the administration of Jizzakh, it was revealed that the Russian company intends to implement a "smart city" project in four houses located in the city of Jizzakh. The project provides for the integration of several information and communication technologies for the management of city property based on the Umnogor digital platform. World Bank Publishes Macroeconomic Forecast for Turkmenistan The gross domestic product (GDP) of Turkmenistan will be 5.6 percent in 2019 and 5.1 percent in 2020 compared to 6.2 percent in 2018. Turkmenistan’s public debt in 2019 will be 31.2 percent of GDP, compared with 29.9 percent in 2018. According to the bank’s report, the inflation rate in the Caspian littoral country will decrease slightly in 2019 and will reach 6 percent compared to 7.2 percent in 2018 and 10.4 percent in 2017. World Bank Reveals Forecast for Kazakhstan’s GDP Growth The World Bank expects Kazakhstan’s GDP growth to decelerate slightly in 2019-2020 and flatten thereafter, according to the WB Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, Spring 2019: Financial Inclusion. The bank forecasts the country’s GDP growth at 3.5 percent in 2019, and at 3.2 percent in 2020 and 2021. "The outlook reflects slow productivity growth and the underlying structural weaknesses of the economy, including market dominance by state-owned enterprises, unequal regulatory treatment of enterprises, and a low level of competition," reads the report. Decelerating economic growth in Kazakhstan’s main trading partners—particularly China, the EU, and Russia—is also forecast to dampen growth in 2019. Cargo Transportation to Azerbaijan Via Georgia’s Batumi Port Revealed The total volume of cargo transportation via Georgia’s Batumi port to Azerbaijan amounted to 85,738 tons in January-March 2019. "Of this volume, 62,691 tons accounted for raw sugar. Moreover, 12,836 tons of palm oil, 6,603 tons of soya and 3,608 tons of corn oil were transported via Batumi port to Azerbaijan in January-March 2019," added the source. The total volume of cargo transportation from Azerbaijan via Georgia’s Batumi port stood at 26,119 tons as of 2018. Turkmenistan Paving Highway to Kazakh Border Turkmenistan is carrying out reconstruction of the Turkmenbashi-Garabogaz-Kazakhstan highway and the bridge across the Garabogazgol Bay. It is expected that a 139 mile-long road with a two-way traffic and a width of over 73 feet will be laid from Turkmenbashi city to the border with Kazakhstan. There are also plans to erect a bridge across the Garabogazgol Bay with a length of approximately 1,161 feet and a width of 68 feet. Mogherini Hints at Finalization of New EU-Azerbaijan Partnership Agreement The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, signaled in a speech made in Brussels on Thursday that Azerbaijan and the EU may soon complete negotiations on a new partnership agreement. “We are currently in an important phase of negotiations, because we are hopefully in the final crucial phase of negotiating our new ambitious bilateral agreement, which I am sure will increase and deepen our relations,” Mogherini said at the 16th EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council, according to a video footage posted on European External Action Service’s official Twitter page. Kazakhstan May Purchase Tractors from Indian Companies Kazakhstan negotiates with a few Indian tractor makers including Mahindra & Mahindra company for the purchase of tractors and agri-input mechanization equipment to boost the agriculture. "We are holding dialogues with a few Indian tractor makers. Negotiation with Mahindra & Mahindra is ahead than others. We are also inviting another tractor maker Sonalika for an assembly line in Kazakhstan," he said. Uzbekistan to Hold Meeting of 7 Branch Bodies of CIS The Uzbek side will organize meetings of seven sectoral bodies as a co-chair state of the CIS. Ministry states that on April 5, a delegation of Uzbekistan led by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov took part in a regular meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow. Turkmenistan, Bulgaria Discuss Prospects for Trade and Economic Cooperation A meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan with the Bulgarian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (with residence in Baku) Nikolai Yankov. At the talks, the parties noted the intention to build up comprehensive cooperation and readiness for joint work on its further revitalization. (Sources: AzerNews, Azertac, Caspian News, Eurasianet, KazinForm, The Korea Times, Mena FN, Trend News Agency, and Xinhua.net.)