Headlines from the Caspian: May 16, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
May 16, 2022
Energy and Economy
Kazakhstan and Finland Plan to Expand Trade and Investment
On May 13, Kazakhstan and Finland marked 30 years of diplomatic relations with a diplomatic meeting in Nur-Sultan. Representatives from both countries noted that they would be interested in further strengthening trade, economic, and investment ties. Finland was Kazakhstan’s main trading partner among the Nordic countries with trade turnover exceeding $300 million in 2021.
Source: Astana Times
EU and Armenia to Discuss Prospects of Launching Visa Liberalization Dialogue
The fourth meeting of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council will take place in Brussels on May 18 and will touch on bilateral relations and political matters, the Council of the EU said in a statement. They will discuss political dialogue and reform, democracy, rule of law and human rights, economic, and trade and sectoral cooperation, as well as the prospects of launching a Visa Liberalization Dialogue.
Kazakhstani and German Companies Sign $200 Million in Agreements at Nur-Sultan Business Forum
Over 250 delegates from Kazakhstan and Germany gathered in Nur-Sultan to discuss economic cooperation, technology exchanges, green economy, and other rapidly growing sectors. The Business forum concluded with 11 agreements worth $200 million being signed. Agreements included the creation of partnerships with major companies like Siemens, EMAG, and R.S. Engineering to expand their presence in Kazakhstan.
Source: Astana Times
Kazakhstan Bans Sugar Exports
Kazakhstan has imposed a ban on the export of white and cane sugar from the country. An order signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and published on May 12 noted that the ban will come into effect on May 22. The ban will be imposed for six months.
Politics and Security
Georgia Continues Bid for EU membership
On May 10, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili formally handed over a seven-volume reply to the European Union’s accession questionnaire to the bloc’s ambassador in Tbilisi, Carl Hartzell. This act fulfills Georgian Dream’s election pledge to apply for E.U. membership by 2024.
Director of Pro-Opposition TV Channel Jailed for 3.5 Years in Georgia
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Nika Gvaramia, director of the opposition-aligned Mtavari and lawyer for former president Mikheil Saakashvili, to three and a half years in prison. The charges stem from alleged impropriety in receiving gifts in exchange for advertising at his previous station, Rustavi 2.
Source: Open Caucasus Media
Tajik President Meets with Vladimir Putin Ahead of CSTO Summit
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met on May 16 with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Summit (CSTO) in Moscow. Rahmon called the meeting to discuss opportunities for the two countries to expand bilateral cooperation, placing an emphasis on economic measures.
Lukashenko Calls for CSTO to Unite Against the West
Leaders of the CSTO gathered in Moscow for a summit on May 16. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the leaders of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in his opening remarks, calling for a united front in the post-Soviet space. Lukashenko added that sanctions against Russia and Belarus could have been avoided if the group had coordinated their actions.
Afghan News Outlets Report Conflict on Afghan-Tajik Border
Two Afghan media outlets report that a 4-hour clash took place overnight from Saturday to Sunday, May 15 between Taliban militants and Tajik border guards. Negotiations between border authorities on both sides brought an end to the shooting. Tajik and Taliban officials have not commented on this incident.
(Sources: AsiaPlus, Armenpress, Astana Times, Eurasianet, Open Caucasus Media, Reuters, 24.kg)