Headlines from the Caspian: May 3, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
May 3, 2022
Energy and Economy
Borjomi Mineral Water Ceases Operations in Georgia Citing the Ukraine War
Georgia’s mineral water brand Borjomi has announced a pause in operations. The Alfa Group, owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman maintains a controlling interest in the company. Friedman has been targeted by western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The closure of the company and subsequent loss of jobs would represent a major blow to the town.
Source: OC Media
Mirzoyan, Blinken will sign a memorandum on cooperation in the civil nuclear field
From May 2-6, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan will pay a working visit to the United States of America to participate in the Armenian-American Strategic Dialogue session. Mirzoyan and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will sign a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation in the civil nuclear field.
Uzbek and Chinese Cities Explore Opportunities for Interregional Cooperation
A Friendship and Cooperation Forum dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and China was held between the Uzbek city of Jizzakh and the Chinese city of Qingdao. An online memorandum was signed for two projects on the construction of an international import and export center in Jizzakh and continued cooperation in investment and procurement between Qingdao Asia-Europe Trade Services Co., Ltd. and BMB Logistic.
Security and Politics
Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Leaves Post
Abdulaziz Komilov has stepped down as the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan. A presidential spokesman state that Komliov would be taking a new role as the deputy secretary of the presidential Security cabinet. Vladimir Norov, the first deputy foreign minister and previous foreign minister from 2006-2010 will serve as the acting foreign minister for the time being.
Collective Security Treaty Organization Will Hold Military Exercises in Central Asia
On April 27, the Kazakhstani Defense Ministry announced that the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold military exercises in Kazakhstan in October. Additional CSTO exercises will be held in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the fall.
Kazakhstan Proposes New Political Reforms
Kazakhstan’s president, Kasym-Jomart Tokaev, has proposed a constitutional referendum. It is unclear when the referendum would occur, and President Tokaev has stated that the referendum would encompass changes to around one-third of the current constitution.
Anti-Government Rallies Continue in Yerevan
Thousands of oppositions supporters rallied in Armenia’s capital on May 1. The protesters were angered after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told lawmakers last month that the international community has called for Armenia to “scale down demands with regard to Karabakh.” Protesters are now calling for Pashinyan’s resignation and have continued to gather in the capitol, blocking streets.
Tajikistan Purchases Bayraktar Drones from Turkey
The unconfirmed sale of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles to Tajikistan from Turkey has alarmed officials in Kyrgyzstan. It has raised concerns that this could be a symptom of a developing arms race between the two countries which remain in a border dispute