Media Highlights of the Week - April 5, 2021
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Apr 5, 2021
Energy and Economy
Kazakhstan Will Adhere to OPEC+ Decision to Increase Oil Production
Kazakhstan will adhere to the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC ministers (OPEC+) to increase oil production in the months of May, June, and July of this year. The agreement stipulates that Kazakhstan will increase oil production to 1.46 million barrels per day in May and June and 1.47 million barrels per day in July. The April 1 OPEC+ agreement follows a previously OPEC+ agreement on March 4, which allowed Kazakhstan and Russia to increase oil production in April.
Turkish Investor Will Build Two Thermal Power Plants in Uzbekistan
Turkish investor Aksa Enerji will finance the construction of two thermal power plants around Uzbekistan’s capital city of Tashkent. The two thermal power plants will have a total generating capacity of 470 MW and will cost $300 million to construct. The funds for construction are being sourced entirely by foreign direct investment.
Georgia to Reopen its Enguri Hydro Power Plant
According to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the renovated Enguri hydropower plant, which produces 40 percent of the country’s electricity, will resume its work in early May. The European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have funded the renovation, which will also result in water savings of 30-35 percent.
European Union and Kazakhstan Look to Enhance Energy Cooperation
The European Union Delegation leader Sven-Olov Carlsson and Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Nurlan Nogayev met to discuss bolstering the energy partnership between the Central Asian country and the EU. The two delegations discussed the modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty and the potential for implementing mechanisms to transport raw hydrocarbon resources to Europe.
Azerbaijan and World Bank Discuss Strengthening Cooperation
During a meeting between representatives from Azerbaijan and the World Bank, the two sides highlighted the progress of joint projects in self-employment, social protection, and labor legislation. The parties also discussed areas of possible cooperation and stressed the importance of developing new partnership programs.
EBRD Allocates a $29 Million Loan to Support Agribusiness in Azerbaijan
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has committed to issuing a €25 million ($29.4 million) loan to Azerbaijan’s food and beverage producer Avrora LCC to support the country’s agribusiness. The project will also establish new training programs to enhance employees’ skills in e-commerce.
Uzbekistan and China Hold Virtual Negotiations
Uzbekistan and China held virtual negotiations on March 31 to discuss the current state of affairs in several priority areas. For example, Uzbekistan agreed to attract large Chinese companies by adopting Chinese technology. In addition, the two delegations agreed to expedite efforts to develop a draft agreement on bilateral trade and investment cooperation.
Kazakhstan Unveils Plan to Develop North Kazakhstan Region
Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin unveiled his plan to initiate social and economic development of the North Kazakhstan region through 2025. The plan is composed of 80 initiatives worth approximately $4 billion. Officials project that the plan will stimulate investment, ensure public order and civil protection, bolster the region’s social sector, and enhance housing and infrastructure projects.
Security and Politics
Pashinyan and Putin to Meet to Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh Agreement
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 7. They will discuss the implementation of the trilateral peace agreement, issues relating to transportation infrastructure in the region, the new Armenian election process, and Armenian-Russian relations.
Azerbaijan and Turkey Discuss Future Military Cooperation
Azerbaijani Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov met with a Turkish delegation headed by the Technical Director of the Turkish company Seljuk Bayraktar in Baku. They discussed strengthening military cooperation, and Hasanov noted the effectiveness of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufactured by Bayraktar in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Azerbaijan Confirms Use of Iskander Missiles During Karabakh War
Azerbaijan’s National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) published coordinates of the location of two alleged missile strikes on the city of Shusha during the 2020 Karabakh War, as well as photos that appeared to show fragments of the missiles. The fragments contained serial numbers that identified them as Iskander missiles.
EU-Mediated Talks Unsuccessful in Finding Solution for Georgian Political Parties
On March 30, EU-commissioned mediator Christian Danielsson reported that all sides refused to agree to a proposed solution to the months-long political stalemate that has left Georgia’s legislature one-third empty. The government and the opposition blamed each other for the lack of success in the EU-led negotiations.
Armenia Approves Changes to Electoral System
The Armenian parliament has adopted changes to the country’s Electoral Code which the opposition claims will help Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian win snap elections expected in June. The amendments would switch the country's electoral system to a fully proportional one.
People in Occupied Regions of Georgia to Receive Vaccines in Tbilisi-Controlled Territory
On March 30, Georgian Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Tea Akhvlediani announced that healthcare workers and people above 65 living in Georgia’s Russia-occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions will be able to receive coronavirus vaccinations on Georgian-controlled territory.
Large-scale Military Exercises to Take Place in Southern Tajikistan
Large-scale tactical military exercises involving the Tajik Armed Forces and Russian troops from the 201st Military Base will take place in the territory of three military ranges in the Hatlon garrison. The exercises will be held in the second half of April and include armored vehicles, artillery, and aviation.
Foreign Minister of Iran to visit Central Asia
On April 5, an Iranian delegation led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Uzbekistan. They discussed a number of issues regarding bilateral relations in the political, trade, economic, investment, transport, and logistics spheres.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, Asia-Plus, Astana Times, Azernews, Caspian News, Eurasianet, RFE/RL, Trend News Agency, and UZ Daily.)