Caspian Brief: August 2, 2017
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan advance with border delimitation talks
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan continue negotiations on their border delimitation and demarcation, as the border line between the two countries remains unsettled since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sputnik news agency reported citing the Kyrgyz government’s press service.
The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border has repeatedly become a center of clashes between local residents. After Shavkat Mirziyoyev took Uzbekistan’s presidential office in 2016, the bilateral relations between the two countries have seen a breakthrough. As of May 2017, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan had agreed on around 1,055 kilometers, or 76.5 percent, of their border line.
“Since the renewal of the talks, from August 2016 to July 31, 2017, a total of 14 governmental delegation task groups’ meetings have been held, where the problems of boundary delimitation and demarcation have been discussed,” the Kyrgyz government’s press service said on July 31.
According to the statement, the negotiation teams’ heads Uzbek ambassador at large and adviser to Uzbekistan’s Minister of Interior Affairs Ilhom Nematov and Kyrgyz Government’s special representative Kurbanbai Iskandarov have informed Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov on the talks process, particularly on the nine-day negotiations held in Bishkek between July 20 and 29.
“Overall, the meeting was held on a constructive basis and in a friendly atmosphere. Based on the results of the negotiations, we have signed a protocol and agreed upon holding another task group meeting on the territory of Uzbekistan,” the press service added.
In June 2017, Kyrgyz and Uzbek presidents tasked responsible authorities with the task of accelerating the work on signing the bilateral delimitation and demarcation agreement on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana.
Pence Reaffirms U.S. Solidarity with Georgia, Denounces Russian ‘Aggression’
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has reaffirmed Washington’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during a visit to Tbilisi and denounced Russia’s “aggression” and “occupation” of Georgian territory.
“America stands with Georgia,” Pence said on August 1 at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
“Today, Russia continues to occupy one-fifth of Georgian territory,” Pence said. “So, to be clear — the United States of America strongly condemns Russia’s occupation on Georgia’s soil.”
The Kremlin recognized Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries after fighting a five-day war against Tbilisi in 2008. Russia maintains thousands of troops in the two regions.
“The United States supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” Pence added. “And under President Donald Trump, the United States of America will object to any claim at any time by any nation that undermines this enduring principle.”
Pence said Trump will “very soon” sign legislation that would impose additional economic sanctions on Russia.
“We hope for better relations with Russia,” Pence said. “But the recent diplomatic action taken by Moscow, I can assure you, will not deter the commitment of the United States to our security, that of our allies, and the freedom-loving nations around the world, like Georgia.”
Pence also reiterated that the United States “strongly” supports the Caucasus country’s aspirations to become a NATO member.
“I commended the prime minister for Georgia’s democratic development, which has brought Georgia closer to unity with Europe and membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” he said. “Further progress on the goals that the prime minister has set will bring Georgia even closer and NATO even closer to your grasp and it will strengthen the bond between our nations.”
Pence also met on August 1 with the leaders of the Georgian opposition and addressed troops participating in NATO joint military exercises being conducted in Georgia, saying, “We stand here today in the gap — on a front line of freedom, a front line compromised by Russian aggression nearly a decade ago.”
Iran says has filed complaint to JCPOA Joint Commission over U.S. sanctions
Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said on Tuesday that Iran has filed a complaint to the JCPOA Joint Commission against the new U.S. sanctions.
Talking to reporters in Qom, Larijani said it is clear that the U.S. has violated the letter of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name for the July 2015 nuclear agreement.
JCPOA Joint Commission is tasked to supervise the implementation of nuclear deal.
Larijani said, “Iran will determinedly prevent the U.S. from reaching its objectives.”
Larijani added, “Diplomatic actions should be taken regarding the new U.S. sanctions and a complaint should be lodged to the related committee which has been done. The committee has issued an announcement according to which the U.S. has committed some violations in implementing the JCPOA.”
The next meeting of the Joint Commission will be held at ministerial level, Larijani announced.
Last week the two houses of the U.S. Congress ratified sanctions against Iran. The U.S. Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on six Iran-based satellite companies on Friday after Iran launched Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier rocket into space on Thursday.
According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, the Supervisory Committee of the JCPOA held a meeting to discuss the latest sanctions by the United States. The committee was chaired by President Hassan Rouhani.
The Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran briefed the committee on the latest developments and the members stressed that the U.S. has violated its commitments under the JCPOA, especially Paragraphs 26, 28 and 29, demanding that Iran must respond.
Germany completes withdrawal of Tornado aircraft from Turkey’s Incirlik
Germany had completed the withdrawal of Tornado jet fighters from the Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey, the country’s media outlets reported Aug. 1.
The withdrawal procedures were started in late 2016.
It is also reported that Germany deployed its military aircrafts at the Al-Azraq (Al Shaheed Muwaffaq Salti Air Base) Air Base in Jordan.
On June 5, 2017, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Turkey to discuss the presence of the German Air Force at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
Previously, Turkey blocked a group of German lawmakers from visiting the servicemen at the Incirlik Air Base, prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to suggest, that Berlin may consider moving 250 troops, stationed at the Air Base, to one of the neighboring countries.
In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a possible withdrawal of the German Air Force contingent from the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey poses no problem for Ankara.
Candidates registered for presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan
Central Election Committee of Kyrgyzstan has completed the process of registration of candidates for the 2017 Presidential elections.
A total of 59 candidates were nominated for participation in the forthcoming Presidential race, according to the information published on the Central Election Commission’s website.
As many as 49 candidates are self-nominated, while the rest of them were nominated by the political parties.
The next Presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan will be held on October 15, 2017.
Country’s current President Almazbek Atambayev lacks the right of running in the upcoming election, as the Kyrgyz law prohibits the country’s citizen from being elected a President for two consecutive terms.
According to the Constitution, the President of the Kyrgyzstan may be elected for a six-year term.
Kazakhstan hosts International Army Games contests
More than 400 servicemen from 18 countries would take part in the competitions of the International Army Games 2017 held on the territory of Kazakhstan, Sputnik news agency reports citing the press service of Russia’s Central Military District.
More than 400 servicemen from 18 countries will participate in International Army Games contests that kick off today in the southern Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl Region, the press service said on August 1.
The International Army Games have been held annually at the initiative of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu since 2015.
The International Army Games 2017 are being held from July 29 until August 12 in the territory of five countries. The program of the Games consists of 28 contests, the official website of the Games says.
The contests will be held in the territories of Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and China.