Trending Headlines from the Caspian, November 2, 2021
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Nov 3, 2021
Energy and Economy
As Winter Approaches, Shortages Cause Concern in Central Asia
As winter approaches in Central Asia, food and energy shortages are causing concern for Central Asian governments. A drought this past year has caused food shortages. Prices for food and energy have significantly increased, and an increased demand for electricity and heating for the winter have caused worries that the energy infrastructure in Central Asia will not be able to handle increased consumption or that there will be power outages.
Cotton Cultivation in Tajikistan Profitable for the First Time in Ten Years
Tajikistan’s cotton prices doubled in this last growing season. Wide-scale drought in many cotton producing regions of the world has caused a higher demand for cotton, and Tajikistan’s cotton production spiked production as a result. This is the first time in ten years that Tajikistan’s cotton production turned a profit. This is critical to Tajikistan’s economy, and set to help the country’s recovery from the economic setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgia’s Debt Reaching the Legal Limit
As a result of economic difficulties stemming from the COVID pandemic, the Georgian government is facing the problem of reaching the legal borrowing limit, which is set at 60 percent of GDP. An increase in social spending and a 6.25 percent contraction in output has resulted in an increase of $2.3 billion in debt. The debt is now at 57 percent, which leaves little room in case there is an additional economic crisis.
Kazakhstan Resumes Talks on Khvalynskoye and Imashevskoye Gas Fields
Nur-Sultan and Moscow have resumed talks discussing the development of two large gas fields, Khvalynskoye and Imashevskoye, in Kazakhstan’s section of waters in the Caspian Sea. This comes as a result of increasing gas and oil consumption in Kazakhstan and the general region. Moscow wants to increase energy security in the region and take advantage of resources by investing and developing Central Asia’s energy output infrastructure.
Source: Caspian News
Kyrgyzstan Promises to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Reach Net Neutrality by 2050
At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov promised that Kyrgyzstan would make every effort to reduce greenhouse emissions by 44 percent by 2030. Additionally, Kyrgyzstan will implement policies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This would cost Kyrgyzstan an estimated $7 billion USD. Kyrgyzstan, along with the rest of Central Asia, has been facing impacts of climate change such as drought, so this affirmation of policies to mitigate climate change are a positive indication of progress in Kyrgyzstan.
Security and Politics
Ruling Party Dominates Georgian Local Elections, Sparking Protest
In runoff elections on October 30, candidates from the ruling Georgian Dream party won 19 of the 20 mayoral races, including in all the country’s biggest cities. The results were a setback for the opposition, the United National Movement, which had appeared within reach of winning some key races, including in Tbilisi. The opposition has called the result fraudulent and plans have been made to hold a large protest in Tbilisi on November 6.
Tajikistan to Construct New Chinese-Funded Base
First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan Abdurahmon Alamshozoda announced on October 27 in parliament that China will build a base in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) in the village of Vakhan, Ishkashim district. The base will belong to the Organized Crime Control Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan and will be built within the framework of an agreement between the Tajik Interior Ministry and the Chinese Security Ministry. GBAO shares borders with China and Afghanistan.
Source: Radio Ozodi
Russia Urges Afghanistan’s Neighbors Not to Welcome U.S. Forces
On October 27, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan not to host U.S. or NATO forces. His remarks were addressed to all of Afghanistan’s neighbors, which include Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as China, Iran and Pakistan. The statement followed recent U.S. reports that Washington continues to inquire about establishing some form of military presence in the region.
Turkmenistan Ready for Dialogue with Taliban-led Government in Afghanistan
During a visit to Kabul on October 31, Turkmenistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov held several meetings with high-ranking officials of Afghanistan. During the meetings, the sides discussed political and economic ties, the security situation, humanitarian aid, construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) power transmission line, and the railroad from Turkmenistan to some Afghan provinces.
Source: AKI Press
President Erdogan Highlights Conditions for Normalizing Ties with Armenia
During a joint press briefing with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Zangilan on October 26, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Armenia will have no obstacles to restoring ties if Yerevan shows goodwill towards Azerbaijan. President Erdogan said that determination and mutual recognition of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan is necessary to implement projects, which will turn the region into a transit and logistical center.
Source: Caspian News
Sources: Agenda.ge, AKI Press, Asiaplus, Caspian News, Eurasianet, Kloop, RFE/RL