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Putin: IS endangers EU & Russia, situation is very serious

Dimitris Giannakopoulos

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Welcome to the Caspian Daily, where you will find the 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region. We appreciate ideas, reports, news and interesting articles. Send along to Caspian[at]moderndiplomacy.eu or on Twitter: @DGiannakopoulos

1Islamic State has designs on the holy cities of Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and endangers Europe and Russia, Vladimir Putin said. Moscow is concerned about IS-trained jihadists returning to EU countries, the CIS and Russia. “Extremists from many countries of the world, including, unfortunately, European counties, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) undertake ideological and military training in the ranks of Islamic State [IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL],” said Putin, speaking at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. “And certainly we are worried that they could possibly return. It is necessary to set aside geopolitical ambitions, drop so-called double standards, the policy of direct or indirect use of separate terrorist groups for achieving own goals, including removing the governments and regimes.”

2Azerbaijan quits Euronest. The Parliament of Azerbaijan passed a decision regarding the resolution of the European Parliament dated September 10, 2015.The draft decision was read out by vice-speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Head of the EU-Azerbaijan parliamentary cooperation committee Valeh Asgarov. According to the document, the European Parliament’s resolution shows that the organization is extremely biased against Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani Parliament adopts a decision: The subversive activities and biased campaigns against Azerbaijan shall be ended. The activity damaging the reputation of the European Parliament shall be stopped.The Azerbaijani delegation should be stopped from participating in the meetings of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and recalled. The Cabinet of Ministers should be ordered to ban members of the European Parliament from entering Azerbaijan in case sanctions are imposed on Azerbaijani officials.

3The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which unites state legislators form 50 U.S. states, has passed a resolution emphasizing Azerbaijan’s strategic importance and fast development, APA reports. The resolution encourages the United States government to support and deepen strategic partnership with the Republic of Azerbaijan.The biggest part of the resolution is about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. According to the resolution, both the U.S. along with the United Nations recognizes and supports Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

4Kazakhstan Launches Energy Efficiency Project. On September 14, the Ministry of Investments and Development jointly with the World Bank officially launched the Kazakhstan Energy Efficiency Project to improve the energy efficiency in public and social facilities and to create the enabling environment for sustainable energy efficiency financing.The project focuses on reduction in energy use of public buildings such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and street lighting, to demonstrate energy cost savings and social co-benefits.

5Western dream of regime change in Iran is over, so what’s next? “The contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the entire region, with global consequences, and neither seems to have a workable strategy to exit the conflicts in which they are embroiled. At the heart of their competition lies Syria, a majority-Sunni country ruled by a minority regime allied with Iran” Joost Hiltermann –Reuters.

6Is Syria the new Crimea? Russia may think so. “New intelligence reports verified that Russia is sending military forces into Syria capable of striking ISIS targets. Two U.S. officials told Foreign Policy Magazine; “The intelligence community has substantiated that Russia is going to deploy Mikoyan MiG 31 and Sukhoi Su-25 fighter planes to a forward operating base in Latakia.” Much of the military equipment has arrived, including air traffic control towers, aircraft supplies, as well as housing units for hundreds of troops” examiner.com

7The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs will organize a meeting between Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan said. According to Robert F. Cekuta, the Co-chairs and the Foreign Ministers will discuss the possibility of organizing a meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents later this year. Commenting on the date of the Co-chairs’ next visit to the region, the U.S. ambassador said the mediators planned to visit the region next fall, failing, however, to mention specific dates.

8New thermal power plant commissioned in Turkmenistan. A new gas-turbine thermal power plant has been commissioned in Derweze district of Turkmenistan’s Ahal province, ‘Neutral Turkmenistan’ newspaper reported.The new power plant is able to meet the electricity demand of the province and Ashgabat city, according to the report.The power plant with the total installed capacity of 504.4 megawatt was constructed by Turkish Calik Enerji Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.The new thermal power plant, located on the area of 32 hectares, is a complex of modern technological facilities. The main facilities among them are four powerful gas-turbine plants GE 9E produced by the US General Electric company. Their capacity is 126.1 megawatt each.

9Azerbaijan’s oil production will average 0.86 million barrels per day in 2015, according to OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report published on September 14.This figure is revised down by 10,000 barrels per day from the previous month’s predictions.OPEC predicts Azerbaijan’s oil production at an average 0.8 million barrels per day over 2016.

10The EU should reward, not punish its loyal partner Azerbaijan. The European Union’s double standards in its dealings with Azerbaijan are damaging to the trust of a people that embraces European values, writes Ceyhun Osmanlı for Euractiv.

Journalist, specialized in Middle East, Russia & FSU, Terrorism and Security issues. Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Modern Diplomacy magazine. follow @DGiannakopoulos

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Guterres: Korean nuclear crisis, Middle East quagmire eroding global security

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Conflicts are becoming more and more interrelated and more and more related to a set of a new global terrorism threat  to all of us,” Mr. Guterres said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony on Friday of the Munich Security Conference.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world is facing the threat of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which he called “a development made in total contradiction to the will of the international community and in clear violation of several resolutions of the Security Council.”

He said that it was essential to maintain “meaningful pressure over North Korea” to create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement on the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula within a regional framework.

“The two key stakeholders in relation to this crisis, the United States and [DPRK]” must be able to “come together and have a meaningful discussion on these issues,” he said, adding that it is “important not to miss the opportunity of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic engagement as a military solution would be a disaster with catastrophic consequences that we cannot even be able to imagine.”

The situation in the broader Middle East, which the UN chief said had become a “Gordian knot,” was also eroding global security, with that are crises that are “crossing each other and interconnected.”

Pointing to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya, among others, Mr. Guterres said the entire Middle East has “became a mess,” with varied and intersecting fault lines.

He warned of the absence of a common vision in the region and said that even if interests are contradictory, the threats these conflicts represent would justify some efforts to come together.

Turning to cyber-security, Mr. Guterres called for a serious discussion about the international legal framework in which cyberwars take place.

“I can guarantee that the United Nations would be ready to be a platform in which different actors could come together and discuss the way forward, to find the adequate approaches to make sure that we are able to deal with the problem of cybersecurity,” he said, noting that artificial intelligence provides “enormous potential for economic development, social development and for the well-being for all of us.”

The Secretary-General said that Governments and others have been unable to manage human mobility. He warned that this had created mistrust and doubts about globalism and multilateralism.

“This is a reason why,” he said, “we need to be able to unite, we need to be able to affirm that global problems can only be addressed with global solutions and that multilateralism is today more necessary than ever.”

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Supporting tourism development in Africa through better measurement

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In an effort to better measure tourism growth and development in Africa, UNWTO signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation for the Strengthening of the National Tourism Statistical System of Nigeria and the Development of a Tourism Satellite Account.

UNWTO is committed to developing tourism measurement for furthering knowledge of the sector, monitoring progress, evaluating impact, promoting results-focused management, and highlighting strategic issues for policy objectives.

On the occasion of the meeting between UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the agreement to host the Sixty-First meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa and the Seminar on ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’ in Nigerian capital, Abuja, from 4 to 6 June 2018, was signed.

The meetings will be open to the participation of UNWTO Member States and Affiliate Members, as well as invited delegations and representatives of the tourism and related sectors. Officials of immigration departments, national statistics bureaus, central banks and other relevant stakeholders will be invited to join.

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Causes of Rohingya refugee crisis originate in Myanmar- solutions must be found there

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“We are now in a race against time as a major new emergency looms,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the Security Council via videolink from Geneva, Switzerland.

He said that the Kutupalong area in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar is now the largest refugee settlement in the world, and with the monsoon season to start in March, 107,000 refugees are estimated to be living in areas prone to flooding or landslides.

“The [Bangladeshi] Government is steering a massive emergency preparedness effort, but international support must be stepped up to avert a catastrophe,” he said, stressing that “as we have repeatedly said, resolving this crisis means finding solutions inside Myanmar.”

He said that conditions are not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

The refugee crisis erupted in late August when Myanmar armed forces launched a security operation in the north of Rakhine State, driving thousands of children, women and men to flee over the border to Bangladesh in search of safety.

“The causes of their flight have not been addressed, and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the exclusion and denial of rights that has deepened over the last decades, rooted in their lack of citizenship,” Mr. Grandi said.

“It is time to bring an end to this repeated, devastating cycle of violence, displacement and statelessness to invest in tangible, substantial measures that will start to overcome the profound exclusion that the Rohingya community have endured for far too long,” he added.

Also addressing the Council was UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca, who said that while there has been certain progress on the three priorities laid out by the Secretary-General, not all have been implemented thus far.

Turning first to the need to end violence and improve the security situation, he said that although large-scale acts of violence have subsided, concerns about threats and intimidation against the remaining Rohingya population from Bamar and Rakhine communities, as well as from militia and security forces in Rakhine state, persist.

Second, the UN does not have sufficient access to make a meaningful assessment of the humanitarian or human rights situation in Rakhine.

As for the third point, which is voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced people to their places of origin or choice, Mr. Jenca said the Government has taken some high-level steps to advance this process, including the convening of an Advisory Board, whose recommendations include the inclusion of the UN at an early stage, soonest full humanitarian access, wider media access, and the formation of an independent fact-finding commission.

Mr. Jenca called on the authorities in Myanmar to release the arrested two Reuters journalists and respect the right to freedom of expression and information.

Reuters has now published the story these journalists were working on, a deeply disturbing account of the execution of 10 Rohingya men in Inn Din village (Maungdaw) in northern Rakhine state,he said, while the Associated Press (AP) has also published a report of five mass graves in Gudar Pyin village (Buthidaung).

“These and other shocking reports of grave abuses demand our attention and action, for the sake of lasting peace and justice,” he said.

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