Headlines from the Caspian: June 22, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Jun 22, 2022
Energy and Economy
Rising Food Prices Plague Central Asia
The cost of living has risen all over the world and has hit lower-income and import-dependent Central Asian countries especially hard. Many restaurants and cafes have increased the price of their meals by about 25 percent and people’s wages have not increased.
The Annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) Held on June 15-18
The forum covered the media industry, green energy, Russia's relations with Asia, and food security by panels. The main speakers of the session were Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and President of China Xi Jinping. The Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan was in attendance. Notably, President Tokayev reiterated that Kazakhstan did not recognize the breakaway regions in Ukraine as independent.
Turkmenistan and Iran Sign Nine Documents of Cooperation
On June 15, Iranian and Turkmen high-ranking officials signed a package of nine Memoranda of Understanding documents, which included bilateral cooperation in the spheres of trade, investment, transport, transit, and environmental protection.
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan Sign Documents on Deepening Strategic Partnership
On June 21, President Ilham Aliyev and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed the “Declaration on the Deepening of Strategic Partnership and Expanding Comprehensive Cooperation" between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. The declaration also includes signed Memoranda of Understanding between ministers of each country in the spheres of defense, economy, foreign affairs, agriculture, digital development, and transport.
Caspian Pipeline Consortium to Experience Intermittent Shutdowns
Russian officials have announced that there will be shutdowns to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to survey for unexploded World War II era explosives. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium experienced a month-long reduction in capacity earlier this year and transports the majority of Kazakhstani export oil.
Source: The Maritime Executive
Security and Politics
Kazakhstan’s President Tokayev Pushes Back Against Putin’s Claims that Entire Former Soviet Union was “Historical Russia”
At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin designated the entire former Soviet Union as “historical Russia.” Tokayev pushed back and highlighted that the UN Charter is the basis of international law, and that the territorial integrity of nations must be respected accordingly.
Thousands Rally in Tbilisi to Support EU Membership
Around 60,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi demanding EU membership on June 20. The protests come days after the European Commission recommended waiting to grant Georgia candidacy, while recommending that Moldova and Ukraine be granted candidate status. The European Commission’s stated that Georgia must first carry out several reforms before it will be ready for EU candidate status. The summit during which the EU will make the official decision regarding the countries’ candidacy will be held on June 23-24.
Source: Euronews, Washington Post
Uzbekistan Proposes Constitutional Reforms
The president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has proposed new constitutional reforms, citing aims to deepen democracy. One of the provisions included in the potential reforms will allow Mirziyoyev to run for a third term. Mirziyoyev plans to hold a referendum after parliament approves the constitutional reforms.
Skirmish on Armenia-Azerbaijan Border
Armenia’s Defense Ministry stated that one of its soldiers was killed on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border overnight on June 18-19. Azerbaijani defense officials have confirmed that shots were fired in the area, but no further information is known about the incident.
(Sources: Armenpress, Caspian News, Eurasianet, Euronews, the Maritime Executive, RFE/RL. Reuters, Trend.Az, the Washington Post)