Trending Headlines from the Caspian: September 1, 2021
Energy and Economy
Azerbaijan and Turkey Approve MOU on Digital Commerce
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Azerbaijan aimed at jointly developing digital trade. The document outlined the use of artificial intelligence to simplify customs and border regulations, the application of e-commerce standards, and the possible creation of a joint trading portal, amongst other initiatives.
Russia and Uzbekistan Agree to Simplify Cargo Transit Procedures
Russia and Uzbekistan signed a “Road Map” for the implementation of a memorandum aimed at expediting the movement of goods between the two countries. Priority measures include streamlining custom procedures and the creation of agricultural and wholesale distribution centers.
Source: Fergana News
Turkey to Build Waste Recycling Plant in Kyrgyzstan
The Turkish company Biotrend Energy signed a memorandum with the Bishkek Mayor’s Office and the Kyrgyz Minister of Investments to construct a waste recycling plant outside of Kyrgyzstan’s capital city. Biotrend Energy specializes in generating clean electricity from waste and agreed to finance the project.
Kazakhstani and Brazilian Industry Confederations Sign Memorandum
The Kazakhstan Center for Industry and Export (QazIndustry) and the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop economic relations. The memo aims to increase contacts between entrepreneurs in each country, stimulate joint ventures, and increase trade.
Uzbekistan Launches First Solar Power Plant
On August 27, Uzbekistan opened its first private solar power plant in the southern region of Navoi. The $110 million plant, constructed by the UAE energy company Masdar, will potentially save 80 million cubic meters of natural gas and reduce greenhouse emission by 160 thousand tons.
Source: Fergana News
Politics and Security
CSTO Holds an Extraordinary Virtual Summit
On August 23 the CSTO held an extraordinary summit to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Even though Uzbekistan is not a CSTO member state, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended the summit as a guest. The attendees agreed to hasten their work on strengthening Tajikistan’s border security and to further discuss the situation at the planned summit in Dushanbe on September 16.
Source: Fergana News Agency
CSTO to Hold Military Exercises in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
The CSTO plans to hold military exercises in Kyrgyzstan on September 7-9 and three more sets of military maneuvers will be held close to the Tajik-Afghan border in October, with a fourth scheduled for November. Russia is currently holding military drills in Tajikistan involving 500 troops from the Russian 201st military base in Tajikistan.
Caspian States Participate in Joint Naval Exercise
Servicemen from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Russia are participating in naval games known as the Sea Cup international military competition in Northern Iran. The Sea Cup is part of the broader international army games hosted by Russia.
Source: Caspian News
Russia Helps Evacuate Central Asian Citizens from Afghanistan
Russia airlifted 500 citizens out of Afghanistan including some from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The evacuations took place on August 25 amid broader evacuation efforts.
Azerbaijan Withdraws Troops from Afghanistan
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense announced it has withdrawn all 120 of its soldiers in Afghanistan. The soldiers have been transferred to Ankara and will soon return to Azerbaijan.
Source: Caspian News
President Rahmon Demands Tajik Inclusion in New Afghan Government
In a meeting with the Pakistani Foreign Minister, President Rahmon called for a “worthy place for Tajiks in the future Government of Afghanistan”. The president explained this would be the only way that his country would recognize a Taliban government. He also urged that the Taliban demonstrate respect to all ethnic minorities, especially Uzbeks and Tajiks.
Uzbekistan Offers to Serve as a Hub for Afghan Aid
Uzbekistan has offered to allow its Termez Cargo Center to be used as a staging point for international agencies shipping food and humanitarian aid into Afghanistan. Termez city authorities are reportedly negotiating with agencies related to the United Nations and European Union on how to move the goods through Termez and into Afghanistan.
(Sources: AKI Press, Caspian News, Eurasianet, Fergana News Agency, Inform.kz, Kloop, Report.az, and RFE/RL)