Headlines from the Caspian: September 26, 2022
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Sep 26, 2022
Security and Politics
Diplomatic Efforts Increase to Resolve Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict
Both Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council Armen Grigoryan and Azerbaijan’s President's Foreign Policy Adviser Hikmet Hajiyev will be in Washington DC this week. Following the tension and fighting between the two countries during the past few weeks, there have been an uptick in negotiations for a peace process. September 19, U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken hosted a trilateral meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in which they discussed ways to move the peace process forward.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Sign Demilitarization Agreement
On September 25, chairmen of the security services of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed a protocol on the termination of the border conflict between two sides. The agreement aims to demilitarize a conflict-afflicted section of their shared border. According to Kamchybek Tashiyev, head of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security, the agreement would lay the groundwork for around 140,000 people displaced from their homes in the Batken and Leilek regions to return.
Kazakhstan Announces Refusal to Recognize Referendums in Eastern Ukraine
Kazakhstan has announced that it will not recognize potential Russian annexation of areas Ukraine’s eastern region. The Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov said that Kazakhstan continues to proceed with “principles of territorial integrity of states, their sovereign equivalence, and peaceful coexistence.” He also stated that the country is ready to provide support to assist with political dialogue regarding the conflict and stressed the importance of maintaining stability globally and within the region.
Uzbekistan’s Top Religious Authority Warns Against Joining War on Ukraine
After Russia passed a law to provide citizenship to foreigners willing to join the Russian army, the top Islamic authority of Uzbekistan warned Uzbeks to stay away from involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. The authority declared that doing so would be going against the religion and that “it was not permissible for a Muslim to participate in any military action except to defend their homeland.” These urgings came after videos circulated of Uzbeks being captured over the Russian-Ukraine conflict and prosecutors declared that those involved in foreign conflicts would face criminal charges.
Energy and Economy
Uzbekistan Bans the Usage of Russian Mir Payment System
Amid pressure from the U.S., Uzbekistan implemented a ban on the Russian payment system on September 23. Days earlier, the U.S. threatened Turkish banks that continued using Mir with financial sanctions. Russia developed this payment system to avoid western sanctions in 2015, and after the Ukraine invasion of 2022, Russian officials hoped it would help Russians facing financial difficulties while traveling abroad.
Source: The Moscow Times
Azerbaijan and Singapore to Sign Agreement that would Eradicate Double Taxation
On September 23, representatives of the State Tax Service, the Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan, and experts from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore held discussions in Singapore to draft an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in regards to taxes on income and property. As a part of the meeting, both sides emphasized that the signing of the agreement would create mutually favorable investment conditions and would allow the formation of effective cooperation in the field of information exchange.
Kazakhstan Considers Exporting Grain to Iran and Pakistan
As of September 13, Kazakhstan has formally suspended its wheat and wheat flour export quotas, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture. Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister for the Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin said that as a result of the SCO meetings in Samarkand, Uzbekistan among the presidents of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Iran, the countries will hold further talks “about not only supplies [of grain], but also the expansion of transport logistics, and optimization of work intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.”