Trending Headlines from the Caspian October: 25, 2021
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Oct 25, 2021
Energy and Economy
Tajikistan Accepts $125 Million from China for Road Construction
Tajikistan accepted a $125 million Chinese grant to upgrade a highway to China - an amount that is far less than what Dushanbe expected. Instead, China will pay Chinese contractors to reconstruct 80 kilometers of the highway along the Afghan border in the Pamir Mountains. The stretch, from Kalai-Khumb to Vanj, is the only road connecting the Tajik capital with China. It is unknown how many workers will be brought in, or if Tajikistan will offer any other concessions.
Kyrgyz President Promises To Bring The Country Out Of Its Energy Crisis 2024-2025
A meeting of Kyrgyzstan’s Republican Council of Heads of Local Government Bodies and Local State Administrations was held in Bishkek on October 21-22. During the meeting, President Japarov announced plans to bring the country out of its energy crisis by 2024-2025, but did not specify how authorities intended to do so. Most of Kyrgyzstan's domestically generated electricity comes from hydropower, but some are predicting the largest energy crisis in years due to a severe drought.
1 Billion Soms To Be Allocated for Tourism Development in Kyrgyzstan
Chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Cabinet of Ministers Akylbek Zhaparov announced that a State Tourism Development Fund was to be created, with 1 billion soms allocated to develop tourism infrastructure. The fund will be authorized to make tourism-related purchases and sales, sign contracts on the joint development of tourism facilities and their construction, and attract investments.
Uzbekistan’s Foreign Trade Turnover Reaches $28.22 Billion
According to the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, the foreign trade turnover (FTO) between January-September 2021 reached $28.22 billion, increasing by $680.4 million (2.5 percent) compared to the same period in 2020.
Security and Politics
Azerbaijan Releases Truck Drivers Held During Diplomatic Dispute
Azerbaijan has agreed to release Iranian truck drivers who were being detained on charges of entering the country illegally while transporting cargo to Armenia through Azerbaijani territory. The truck drivers have been held since September 12. This comes after both countries agreed to de-escalate tensions on the border.
Uzbekistan Names Conditions for Recognition of Taliban-led government
Uzbekistan has announced its conditions for recognition of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, with a major point being that a formation of a government structure that includes all political sides in Afghan society. This announcement comes during massive aid operations by the UN World Food Program conducted through Uzbekistan. These conditions for recognition fall in line with Tajikistan’s demands as well, however Uzbekistan has taken on a more pragmatic approach to dealing with the Taliban
Kyrgyz President Japarov Says "If There are Attempts to Seize Our Territories, the Answer will be Tough"
President Japarov has announced that any moves to seize Kyrgyz territory will be met with a “tough” response. There have been 40 armored SUVs given to the Border Service to strengthen Kyrgyzstan’s borders. This is a result of recent border conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that have ended in casualties and property damage, with the most recent one occurring in April 2021.
Kyrgyz President Japarov Rejects Idea of New U.S. Base in Kyrgyzstan
President Japarov has rejected hosting a U.S. military base due to concerns of geopolitical rivalry between the United States and Russia. Kyrgyzstan already hosts a Russian military base, and the President has indicated that there is no need for a second foreign base. The United States utilized Manas Transit Center from 2001 to support troop deployments and conduct counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan until 2014.
Uzbekistan Declares Shavkat Mirziyoyev the Winner of Presidential Elections
The Chairman of Uzbekistan’s Central Election Committee, Zainuddin Nizomhojaev, declared that current president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev won reelection with 80.1 percent of the vote in an election with 80.4 percent of eligible voters participating. A monitoring mission by the OSCE noted some progress on ongoing reforms, but labelled the elections “not truly competitive.”
CSTO Conducts More Counterterrorism Drills on Tajik-Afghan Border
The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) conducted additional counterterrorism exercises in Tajikistan near the border with Afghanistan. While the Taliban has made assurances to neighboring states it did not pose a security threat, Tajikistan remain doubtful. With bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Russia has made it clear it would defend and intervene should the Central Asian states be threatened.
(Sources: 24.kg, Akipress, Asia-Plus, Eurasianet, Kloop, RFE/RL, UzDaily)