Media Highlights of the Week
Kazakhstan to Build Solar HPP for $11.5 Million
Kazakhstan has significant renewable energy resources in the form of hydropower, wind, solar and biomass. However, to date, apart from the partial use of hydro resources, other alternative sources have not received proper development. The main reasons for this situation are the presence of rich reserves of fuel and energy resources and the lack of adequate state support for energy conservation. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) granted “Baikonur Solar” LLP a loan for the construction of a solar HPP. The loan amount is $11.5 million in tenge equivalent, informs the press service of the bank.
UAE Energy Minister to Visit Azerbaijan
Minister of Energy and Industry of the United Arab Emirates Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei will visit Azerbaijan on March 17. He will attend the Joint OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) that will be held in Baku March 18, said the UAE embassy. Reportedly, Al Mazrouei will visit Azerbaijan with a UAE delegation and will hold a number of bilateral meetings.
Turkmen delegation in Pakistan to discuss TAPI
Rashid Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan, is leading a delegation of representatives to Islamabad from March 11-13. The focus of discussion will be the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project, including the gas pipeline at the heart of the project as well as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) initiative, which will link the three member countries by installing electrical transmission lines and fiber optic cables along a portion of the TAPI route. The Nation, a Pakistani daily, has also suggested that the visit will occasion the signing of a Host Government Agreement between Pakistan and the TAPI pipeline company on March 12, but most news outlets coving the visit have chosen not to speculate on the occurrence of a signing ceremony.
Press Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group
In their March 1 statement, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) welcomed the commitment of Azerbaijani President and Armenian Prime Minister. The co-chairs urged the sides to refrain from statements and actions suggesting significant changes to the situation on the ground, prejudging the outcome of or setting conditions for future talks. They also employed both parties to embrace additional elements as proposed by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries in 2009-2012, including: return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control; an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance; a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will; the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation.
New U.S. Ambassador Arrives in Azerbaijan
Ambassador Earle Litzenberger arrived in Baku on March 7. The new Ambassador said that he is “pleased to come to Azerbaijan,” a country with which the U.S. has a “strong partnership” across all areas. Ambassador Litzenberger previously served at the German Marshall Fund, the US Mission to NATO, the US Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, and the US Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Azerbaijan Adopting New Cyber Security Strategy
Azerbaijan will adopt a new cybersecurity strategy, according to its Deputy Minister of Communications, Transport and High Technologies Elmir Valizade. The Cabinet of Ministers discussed the strategy at the end of last year and will likely adopt it soon. Deputy Minister Valizade’s announcement coincided with the first International Cyber Security Week, which began in Baku on March 11.
OSCE Monitoring Azerbaijani-Armenian Line of Contact
The Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson will monitor the ceasefire along Azerbaijan and Armenia’s line of contact on March 12. Two field assistants will monitor the line from Azerbaijan’s territory, while two more will examine the situation from the territory controlled by Armenia.
Kazakhstan May Provide Military Assistance to Tajikistan
Kazakhstan’s Majilis has begun debate on a draft law ratifying an agreement to provide military and technical assistance to Tajikistan. The agreement would provide military supplies such as munitions, ammunition, and engineering and medical equipment. A final decision will be reached by the end of the year.
Shootout Along Azerbaijani-Iranian Border
A border patrol unit tried to stop a group of armed men from illegally entering Azerbaijan from Iran in the Fuzuli district’s Bala Bahmanli village. The patrol fired warning shots, causing the armed group to open fire. One Azerbaijani soldier was killed, and another was injured. The armed group was eventually forced to retreat.
Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan to Visit Pakistan
Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov will visit Islamabad on March 12th along with other high-level officials. Minister Meredov will meet with his Pakistan counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan, and Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan.
Russia Holds Second Meeting of Lazarev Club
The Lazarev Club, an informal platform between Russia and Armenia, held its second meeting last week. Members of the Russian Duma met with Armenian leaders, including a representative from occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani officials quickly expressed displeasure with the meeting. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the “gravely contradicts the commitments of an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair state.”
Third Industrial Zone to Appear in Kazakhstan’s Shymkent
The third industrial zone will appear in the Kazakh city of Shymkent. “Due to the high occupancy of the existing industrial zones and the growing number of entrepreneurs wishing to start their production, there is a need to create a new industrial zone in Shymkent,” said the Deputy Mayor of the city Danat Zhumin. He noted that the new industrial zone Zhuldyz will be diversified – there will be projects of the construction industry, furniture industry, petrochemistry, metallurgy, etc. A total of 20 industrial enterprises are planned for the industrial zone.
UAE Ministry of Economy to visit Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan
The Ministry of Economy will visit Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to hold joint economic committees with both countries. The delegation, headed by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, will include a number of senior officials from the ministries and other federal entities and local government bodies, as well as a number of representatives of business enterprises and investment companies in the country.
Georgia and South Korea Sign Agreement on Economic Cooperation
Within the framework of the visit of the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development George Kobulia to South Korea, the Government of Georgia and the Government of South Korea have signed an agreement on economic cooperation. The agreement was signed by Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Genadi Arveladze and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea Lee Tae-oh in Seoul on March 11. The agreement will enter into force in 30 days’ time.
World Bank: Azerbaijan to Become Donor Country to Assist Poor Nations
In April at the meeting of the International Development Association (IDA) the amount that Azerbaijan will allocate as a donor country to assist poor nations will be announced, the World Bank’s (WB) Regional Director for the South Caucasus Mercy Tembon, said. The regional director expressed gratitude and appreciation to Azerbaijan for willingness to help poor countries.
Turkmenistan, Romania Mull Prospects for Business Partnership
Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov met with Romanian counterpart Teodor Melescanu in Bucharest, according to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry. The views on the prospects for the development of relations in the political-diplomatic, trade-economic, cultural-humanitarian spheres were exchanged during the talks, the source said. The issues of partnership within the international organizations, the intensification of relations within the EU-Central Asia format and Romania’s current chairmanship in the EU Council in the first half of 2019 were also discussed.
Uzbekistan, Russia Discuss Program of Economic Cooperation for 2019-2024
A meeting with delegation of Russian Ministry of Economic Development headed by Minister Maxim Oreshkin was held at the Uzbek Ministry of Finance. The meeting discussed the Program of Economic Cooperation between the Uzbek and Russian Governments for 2019-2024, the implementation of which is already yielding results. Active work is underway on 54 projects, in particular in such sectors as agrarian, fuel and energy and engineering.
Azerbaijan Invests $240 Million in Georgia
Azerbaijan has been named a “number one investor in Georgia” in 2018. Last year, Azerbaijan invested $240 million in Georgia’s economy, the preliminary report of the National Statistics Office of Georgia said, AZERTAC informs. Azerbaijan’s share in direct investments in the economy of Georgia was 19.5 percent. Although it is 1.9 times less than in 2017, Azerbaijan has maintained its leadership. Among the countries most investing in the economy of Georgia, Great Britain holds the second place with $203.7 million and the Netherlands—the third place with $167.9 million.
(Sources: Azer News, Azertag, Dispatch News Desk, Georgia Today, Gulf News, Kazinform, Media Max, Mehr News Agency, OC Media, The Nation, and Trend News Agency.)