Media Highlights of the Week
Politics & Security
U.S. Defense Secretary Meets with Azeri Counterpart
U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper met with Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Zakir Hasanov on October 25 to discuss how they can further the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship. The Secretary of Defense said that the United States “greatly appreciate their contributions to our mutual security.” During the meeting, a wide exchange of views was held on the participation of Azerbaijani peacekeepers in the NATO’s Resolute Support Non-Combat Mission in Afghanistan.
UN Under-Secretary General to Visit South Caucasus
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo will travel to the South Caucasus region from 24 to 30 October 2019 in connection with the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and to pay working visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.From October 25-26, USG DiCarlo will attend the 18th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement. While in Tbilisi from October 27-28, she will be accompanied by the UN Representative to the Geneva International Discussions (GID) Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, and will have bilateral consultations with Georgian officials on UN’s efforts to promote progress with regards to issues on the GID agenda. From October 28-29, Ms. DiCarlo will visit Armenia, for bilateral consultations with Armenian government officials, representatives of UN agencies and partner civil society organizations based in Armenia, including women’s groups.
Websites of the President of Georgia, Courts, Media Outlets, and NGOs Hacked
Hacker attacks have been carried out against 2000 websites, including that of the President of Georgia, Courts of Georgia, NGOs, local self-governments, private organizations, and media outlets. The hacked President’s website had a photo of the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, appear with a caption “I’ll be back.” The Georgian Interior Ministry has launched an investigation under two articles, namely, ‘unauthorized access to computer systems’ and ‘infringement of computer data and/or computer systems.’ Many state websites are still down, and media outlets suspended their activities.
Kyrgyz Supreme Court Confirms Atambayev Legally Stripped of Ex-President Status
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan confirmed the legality of the decision of the Parliament to deprive the former President Almazbek Atambayev of the status of an ex-president and the immunity from prosecution that comes with it. Meanwhile, Atambayev’s pretrial detention has been extended by two more months after he refused to attend hearings in a corruption trial where he is the main defendant.
NATO Vessels Enter Georgia to Participate in Three-day Drills
Two vessels of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) entered Georgia’s coastal city of Batumi on October 25. The vessels will stay in Georgian waters for three days to participate in joint training with Georgia’s coast guard personnel. The ships ITS Vesuvio (Italy) and TCG Amasra (Turkey) entered Batumi following the U.S. military ship USS Porter departure from the port.
Presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus Discuss the Potential of Deepening Economic Cooperation
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko met to discuss the bilateral cooperation on October 25 in Nur-Sultan. The parties emphasized the importance of increasing mutual trade and signed a cooperation plan for the next two years.
Georgian Defense Minister Meets with NATO Secretary General
Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit to Brussels. Garibashvili takes part in a North Atlantic Council meeting of defense ministers of the NATO member-states and partners within the framework of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
Energy & Economy
5G Network Goes Live in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan has become the first country in Central Asia to commercially launch fifth-generation (5G) services last Friday as it rolled out the latest wireless technology in Shymkent, the third most populous city in Kazakhstan behind Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Beeline has become the first of the country’s network coverage providers to roll out 5G. The newly launched network covers about 13 square kilometers and is based on Nokia produced equipment consisting of three base stations and backbone network equipment.
EAEU Signs Free Trade Agreement with Serbia
Serbia had signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The agreement, signed during the visit of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić to Moscow, will replace the existing bilateral FTAs between Serbia and Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Serbia did not have prior FTAs with Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, two other members of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Nobel Oil Services Secures $100 Million Drilling Contract in Turkey
Nobel Oil Services’ subsidiary SOCAR AQS has landed a major, large-scale drilling contract worth $100 million.The deal, signed with a Turkish-Chinese joint venture between China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. and IC İçtaş İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret on October 17, gives Nobel Oil Services’ subsidiary exclusive rights to drill 40 caverns in the Tuzgolu area, located south of Ankara. Known as the Gas Storage Expansion Project, the contract is expected to increase Turkey’s ability to meet some of its energy needs.
Armenian President Discusses Nuclear Safety with Japan’s NRA
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has visited the Nuclear Regulation Authority and had a meeting with the agency’s chairman Toyoshi Fuketa during his trip to Japan. In the framework of the meeting, Sarkissian praised Japan for its knowledge and skills in nuclear energy management and maintenance of safety. Armenia, like Japan, has a nuclear power station, and Armenia expressed interest in Japan’s experience in managing nuclear fuel and waste.
Share of Renewable Energy in EU Energy Balance to Increase from 32 Percent to 60 Percent
The share of renewable energy in the energy balance of the EU will increase from 32 percent to 60 percent by 2030, according to the Head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas. “The EU has been pursuing a policy of supporting the transition to renewable energy since 2009. Prior to this, EU countries pursued this policy on a voluntary basis. Eleven of the 27 EU countries have achieved the goals of transition to renewable energy sources. In the EU, 32 percent of electricity is generated from renewable energy sources,” Jankauskas said.
Kazakh, British Companies, Institutions Sign Agreements to Enhance Cooperation
Various Kazakh and British companies and institutions signed agreements and memoranda on October 23-24, 2019 during the visit of Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko to London. The visit started with the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum 2019 organized by Financial Times Live, fDi Magazine, Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund, Kazakh Invest National Company and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK.
Azerbaijan, UN Agree on Access of Local Startups to World Market
Azerbaijan and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have discussed the access of Azerbaijani startups to the world market. The sides signed Azerbaijan-UNCTAD joint declaration on Cooperation for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals during a meeting between Minister of Transport, Communication and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade and UNCTAD Secretary General Mukisa Kituyi, held at Innovations Agency on October 26.
Swiss Company Seeks to Foster Job Creation in Uzbekistan
Swiss Symbiotics Group investment company provides investments to Uzbekistan’s financial institutions, now including Ipak Yuli Bank, that in turn finance local businesses and population. The credit line will finance promising projects of small and medium-sized businesses.
Turkmenistan offers Malaysia to Use Transport Corridor through Caspian Sea
The prospects for cooperation in the field of international transport and logistics systems are discussed in Ashgabat during the Turkmen-Malaysian talks at the highest level. “Turkmenistan, together with other countries, is creating multi-directional transit-transport and infrastructure logistics corridors in the East-West and North-South directions,” said Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
BP, CAERC Launch Digital Platform
The Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication (CAERC) and BP Azerbaijan has launched the jointly developed project “Monitoring.az” portal. The purpose of the portal is to reduce the communication distance between agencies in the monitoring and evaluation of Strategic Roadmaps and other government programs, to digitalize, simplify and make transparent the monitoring and the evaluation institute.
Uzbekistan Plans to Up Export of Oil, Gas Products
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev recently held a meeting to discuss ongoing work to develop the oil and gas industry. Instructions were given to take measures to fill in the possible backlogs by the end of the year, as well as to formulate a forecast for the production and distribution of oil, oil products, natural and liquefied gas for 2020.
Ashgabat to Host International Telecommunications Forum
Turkmentel 2019 international exhibition and scientific conference on telecommunications, telemetry and information technologies will be held in Ashgabat on November 27-28, 2019. Turkmentel 2019 provides an opportunity to exchange experience, new ideas, achievements and innovations in the field of telecommunications and high technologies.
Azerbaijan is Georgia’s Second Export Partner
Azerbaijan is Georgia’s second major export partner after Russia. The country holds 13.1 percent share in Georgia’s total exports. The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Georgia totaled $754.9 million in January to September 2019, which makes 8.2 percent in Georgia’s total trade turnover.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, ArmenPress, Astana Times, AzerNews, Caspian News, Georgia Today, RFE/RL, Sova News, and Trend News Agency.)