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China and Russia vowed to boost military cooperation

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The 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region for Tuesday, May 26:

1At the 11th round of China-Russia strategic security consultation, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev reached consensus on a wide range of issues, including maintaining the momentum of high-level interactions. They agreed that China will fully support Russia’s efforts to hold the BRICS and SCO summits in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan, in July. And both sides will prepare for the upcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of China’ s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti- Facists War. China and Russia vowed to boost military cooperation, calling for the security idea featuring collective and comprehensive principles as well as cooperation and sustainability. [CHINA DAILY]

2Azerbaijani-Russian business meeting in Baku on May 26.“Azerbaijan and Russia signed more than 170 contracts, of which 45 – in the economic sphere, the work on new agreements is underway” Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Niyazi Safarov said. Russia has invested more than $ 1.8 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy, Azerbaijan has invested over $1 billion of investments in the Russian economy. The business meeting was organized by the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), supported by the Ministry of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan. Some 40 Azerbaijani businessmen attended the meeting.

3Southern Gas Corridor project: no gas from Azerbaijan means no project, said Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.”This would be the biggest project discussed by the European Commission,” he said. The ‘Southern Gas Corridor’ envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.The gas to be produced as part of the second stage of the field’s development will be exported to Turkey and European markets through the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

4Turkmenistan’s parliament, the Majlis, reviewed and approved a draft decree on ratification of the agreement of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on Caspian Sea’s delimitation between the two countries, Turkmen government said May 26. The parties, in line with international and national environmental norms, requirements and standards, exercise sovereign rights within their sections of the bottom for the purpose of exploration, development and use of the resources of the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea. They also exercise sovereign rights for the laying of cables and pipelines under the Caspian Sea, the creation of artificial islands, berms, dams, piers, platforms and other engineering structures, as well as for carrying out other legitimate economic activities on the bottom.

5Delivery of Russian S-300 missiles to Iran should take place soon, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said after meeting his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow. “It will be done at the soonest opportunity possible.” The Russian foreign ministry did not confirm his statement. Tehran previously expected delivery of the sophisticated surface-to-air missiles by the end of the year. Russia insists that progress in the nuclear talks cleared the way for the sale.

6Iran and Indonesia have agreed to build 48 small-scale hydroelectric power plants. The two countries seeking to improve ties harmed by sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program. The power plants will be constructed in Indonesia by Iranian companies in the next five years, Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said after a conference with Indonesian economy minister Sofyan Djalil, Press TV reported Monday.

7“The United States unleashed the Islamic State on the region to create a new Middle East by fueling “uncertainty in the resistance front and the nations’ awakening, [destroying] culture and civilization and resources of the regional countries’ progress and [weakening] the Muslims in all fields with the help and alliance of the regional hirelings, the Sunni group, notorious for its brutality, is the product of the thoughts and acts of the US state-sponsored terrorism,” said Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri, the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, as quoted by the Fars news agency. [SPUTNIKNEWS]

8Syrian talks have kicked off in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Negotiations will last until May 27. “Kazakhstan supports the UN-led effort of all the involved parties inside and outside of Syria to end the violence and bloodshed, overcome the humanitarian disaster and determine the political future of this country through dialogue and reconciliation,” Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry declared. The Foreign Ministry sent out invitations to all the Syrian opposition groups without exception and civil society groups, too. The participants of the meeting are discussing delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria and development of an action plan to settle the conflict. [TENGRI NEWS]

9Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation plans to negotiate the sale of Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) passenger planes with Egypt Air officials, RIA Novosti reported. Two SSJ-100 planes have arrived in Egypt, according to a source in the Russian delegation to Cairo.

10The forgotten land of colours: a trip through Iran’s Persian Gulf. Colourful mountains in shades of pink, red, purple and yellow overlook shorelines where turtles and flamingos roam or sunbathe.This is Hormuz island in the Persian Gulf, the mostly forgotten land of colours in the Strait of Hormuz, 5km from the mainland, and southeast of Bandar Abbas, major port and capital of the province of Hormuzgan. The island was visited among others by Marco Polo. Ibn Battuta who came twice between 1330 and 1340, wrote that the island’s city was “fine” and “large…with magnificent bazaars.” [The Guardian]

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

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Scholz and Macron threaten trade retaliation against Biden

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After publicly falling out, Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron have found something they agree on: mounting alarm over unfair competition from the U.S. and the potential need for Europe to hit back, – writes POLITICO.

The German chancellor and the French president discussed their joint concerns during nearly three-and-a-half hours of talks over a lunch of fish, wine and Champagne in Paris.

They agreed that recent American state subsidy plans represent market-distorting measures that aim to convince companies to shift their production to the U.S., according to people familiar with their discussions. And that is a problem they want the European Union to address.

Both leaders agreed that the EU cannot remain idle if Washington pushes ahead with its Inflation Reduction Act, which offers tax cuts and energy benefits for companies investing on U.S. soil, in its current form. Specifically, the recently signed U.S. legislation encourages consumers to “Buy American” when it comes to choosing an electric vehicle — a move particularly galling for major car industries in the likes of France and Germany.

The message from the Paris lunch is: ‘If the U.S. doesn’t scale back, then the EU will have to strike back. That move would risk plunging transatlantic relations into a new trade war.’

Crucially, Berlin — which has traditionally been more reluctant when it comes to confronting the U.S. in trade disputes — is indeed backing the French push. Scholz agrees that the EU will need to roll out countermeasures similar to the U.S. scheme if Washington refuses to address key concerns voiced by Berlin and Paris, according to people familiar with the chancellor’s thinking.

Before bringing out the big guns, though, Scholz and Macron want to try to reach a negotiated solution with Washington. This should be done via a new “EU-U.S. Taskforce on the Inflation Reduction Act” that was established during a meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Mike Pyle.

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Uzbekistan’s Artel joins UN’s ‘Orange The World’ campaign against gender-based violence

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Artel Electronics LLC (Artel), Central Asia’s largest home appliance and electronics manufacturer, has teamed up with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on a public information campaign against gender-based violence.

The campaign is in line with the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which utilizes the color orange to symbolize a brighter future. Artel’s green branding turned orange for several days in advertising material throughout Uzbek capital Tashkent, and public figures made statements to raise awareness.

Artel joins an international movement that kicked off on 25th November and lasts for 16 days. Since 1991, it has been used by individuals and organizations to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

This is the second year the company has ‘gone orange’. Artel Electronics HR Director, Lazizbek Mamatov, also took part in a panel discussion about Gender Equality in the Workplace hosted by the UNFPA at Westminster International University in Tashkent in line with the campaign.

Shohruh Ruzikulov, CEO of Artel, said “It is a privilege to once more work with the UN in raising awareness about the issue of Gender Based Violence. In Uzbekistan, this conversation is at a relatively young stage. We are proud to stand against domestic violence and continue Artel’s work in all areas to contribute to a better society.”

Mr. Yu Yu, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund, said “We are delighted to partner with a company like Artel on such an important issue. The public reach of the private sector is vital in ensuring our message to stand against domestic violence can be heard across all segments of society. We are grateful to Artel for taking leadership on this important issue in Uzbekistan. Together, we can make the change.”

The true rate of domestic violence in Uzbekistan is not known. However, the government alongside diplomatic partners and aid organizations are prioritizing the issue. In recent years the Presidential Administration has issued decrees targeted at domestic violence prevention, the government has adopted laws guaranteeing equal rights for women, and funding has been provided for information campaigns and rehabilitation centers.

Support for this campaign is just one of Artel’s initiatives to support women’s empowerment. Internally, the company has introduced whistle-blowing mechanisms, and is implementing an internal legal clinic to improve the legal literacy of employees. Over the last year, the proportion of women in the company’s 10,000 employees has risen by 5%, to 35%. The global average for the manufacturing industry is thought to be around 30%.

In 2021, Artel became a full participant of the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest business community focused on sustainable development. In doing so, the company committed to promoting ten principles covering human rights, labor rights and environmental protection.

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Douglas Macgregor: ‘Russia will establish Victory on its own terms’

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The Biden administration repeatedly commits the unpardonable sin in a democratic society of refusing to tell the American people the truth: contrary to the Western media’s popular “Ukrainian victory” narrative, which blocks any information that contradicts it, Ukraine is not winning and will not win this war, notes in his new article Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.), who was the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration.

Months of heavy Ukrainian casualties, resulting from an endless series of pointless attacks against Russian defenses in Southern Ukraine, have dangerously weakened Ukrainian forces.

Predictably, NATO’s European members, which bear the brunt of the war’s impact on their societies and economies, are growing more disenchanted with Washington’s Ukrainian proxy war.

European populations are openly questioning the veracity of claims in the press about the Russian state and American aims in Europe.

The influx of millions of refugees from Ukraine, along with a combination of trade disputes, profiteering from U.S. arms sales, and high energy prices risks turning European public opinion against both Washington’s war and NATO.

After concluding that the underpinning assumptions regarding Washington’s readiness to negotiate and compromise were invalid, Putin directed the STAVKA to develop new operational plans with new goals:

– first, to crush the Ukrainian enemy;

– second, to remove any doubt in Washington and European capitаls that Russia will establish Victory on its own terms;

– and, third, to create a new territorial Status Quo commensurate with Russia’s national security needs.

It is now possible to project that the new Russian armed forces that will evolve from the crucible of war in Ukraine will be designed to execute strategically decisive operations.

The new military establishment will consist of much larger forces-in-being that can conduct decisive operations on relatively short notice with minimal reinforcement and preparation.

Put differently, by the time the conflict ends, it appears Washington will have prompted the Russian State to build up its military power, the very opposite of the fatal weakening that Washington intended when it embarked on its course of military confrontation with Moscow.

Biden’s “take no prisoners” conduct of U.S. foreign policy means the outcome of the next phase of the Ukrainian War will not only destroy the Ukrainian state. It will also demolish the last vestiges of the postwar liberal order and produce a dramatic shift in power and influence across Europe, especially in Berlin, away from Washington to Moscow and, to a limited extent, to Beijing, writes Douglas Macgregor.

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