Media Highlights of the Week
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Oct 27, 2020
Energy and Economy
New Wind Farm to Be Constructed in Kazakhstan
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) are collectively allocating $95.3 million to support the construction of a wind farm near the town of Zhanatas, Kazakhstan. The new facility is set to reduce the country’s reliance on coal-fired power plants and help it shift to renewable energy alternatives. The project also features a focus on women’s empowerment through gender-sensitive trainings and opportunities for career advancement for women.
Azerbaijan Building Energy Infrastructure in Regions of Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijan’s electric power producer Azerenergy JSC is installing electric substations and high-voltage power lines in regions acquired back from the current struggle with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerenergy JSC is constructing four substations with a capacity of 110 kW across the region and power lines to connect them.
Georgia to Build Dry Bulk Terminal on Black Sea
An agreement inked between APM Terminals Poti (APMT) and Poti New Terminals Corporation (PNTC) will lead to the construction of a new dry bulk terminal on the north side of the Black Sea port of Poti. The new terminal will increase the capacity of the port for bulk cargo by 10 million tons. The managing director of APMT, Keld Mosgaard Christensen, said that cargo owners will enjoy improved efficiency resulting from the new terminal.
Georgia Adopts Air Quality Management Plan to Control Dust Emissions
Georgia adopted an air quality management plan to mitigate dust emissions in the industrial city of Rustavi. The plan calls for active monitoring of emissions, the development of a modern European legal framework, and fines for industries that do not comply with the new regulations. Georgian Agricultural Minister, Levan Davitashvili, said that Rustavi dust emissions must be reduced from 14,000 tons annually to 2,000 tons.
Georgia and Japan Bolster Economic Cooperation by Eliminating Double Taxation
Georgia and Japan signed an agreement to avoid double taxation in an effort to bolster their bilateral economic cooperation. According to the new agreement, people or businesses working abroad in either country will only have to pay income and capital gains taxes in one country. Officials hope that eliminating double taxation between Georgia and Japan will attract increased foreign investment.
Kazakhstan Proposes Increasing Women’s Representation in Management Positions
In the fourth meeting of the National Council of Public Trust, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan plans to increase women’s representation in management positions by up to 30 percent with state support. Currently, it is estimated that women hold five to seven percent of top management positions. Tokayev stated that with continued reforms, greater involvement of women and youth will be necessary.
Kyrgyz Mobile Operators Continue to Expand Coverage
Kyrgyz mobile operator Oh! reports that it has expanded its coverage of 4G LTE service to cover 98 percent of residents. High-speed data coverage is now available in nearly all regions where voice service is available. The network will continue to expand its coverage and has plans to initiate projects in the Chuy, Naryn, Osh, and Jalal-Abad regions next month.
Security and Politics
American and Russian Astronauts Land in Kazakhstan Returning from ISS
The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed in Kazakhstan on October 22. They returned from a six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS). American Kate Rubins and Russians Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov replaced them, arriving on the ISS a week earlier.
Acting Kyrgyz President Japarov Announces Run for President
Acting Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov announces that he plans to step down as President before the end of the year to be eligible to run in the presidential election scheduled for January 10, 2021.
New Kyrgyz FM Reaffirms Partnership with Russia
Kyrgyzstan's newly appointed Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 23. Kazakbaev said that the recent political upheaval will not affect relations with Russia. He added that the new administration will “support close contacts on all levels and strengthen political dialogue" with Russia.
Georgian FM Conditions Restoration of Russian Relations on Withdrawal from Occupied Georgian Territory
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani stated that the restoration of the relations with Russia would be possible when Russia withdraws its forces from occupied Georgian territories. In his presentation at the Georgian Dream party election program, Zalkaliani stated that one of Georgia’s priorities is ensuring the non-recognition of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali as independent states. Russia and Georgia suspended diplomatic ties in 2008, and economic and trade relations were only partially restored in 2013.
Uzbekistan Moves to Quicken Transition to Latin Alphabet
On October 21, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoev issued a decree to hasten the full transition of the Uzbek language from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet. The decree calls for the creation of a working group to develop a plan for a full transition to the Uzbek alphabet based on the Latin alphabet, for Uzbekistani government officials to be certified in the Uzbek language, and that by 2030, 80% of kindergarteners should be able to speak Uzbek.
U.S.-Brokered Ceasefire Crumbles
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a new ceasefire, brokered by the United States, on October 25. The ceasefire, scheduled to go into effect at 8:00am on October 26, was broken within minutes. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense indicated that Armenia began to violate the ceasefire at 8:04am local time. Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers agreed to meet again on October 29 in Geneva with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. Despite the U.S. mediated ceasefire, Armenian forces hit the Barda city killing four and wounding 10 civilians.
(Sources: 24.kg, Agenda.ge, Astana Times, Azernews, Eurasianet, RFE/RL, Times of Central Asia, Trend News Agency)