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China and Russia vowed to boost military cooperation

Dimitris Giannakopoulos

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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. follow @DGiannakopoulos

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Greater Caspian News

The COVID-19 Shock to Kazakhstan’s Economy Largest in Two Decades

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For the first time since the late 1990s Kazakhstan’s economy is expected to contract by projected 3 percent in 2020 with a moderate recovery by 2.5 percent in 2021, according to the World Bank’s latest Kazakhstan Economic Update (Summer 2020) – Navigating the Crisis report.

Although Kazakhstan’s GDP showed mild growth at 2.3 percent in the first quarter, economic activities weakened in the following months as commodity prices dropped, trade declined, and COVID-19 preventive measures slowed economic activity. Consumer demand showed moderate growth at  at 1.2 percent,  reflecting growing concerns over COVID-19 and the restriction measures. Investment is expected to ease to 1.0 percent annually, supported mostly by the on-going foreign direct investments into the oil and gas industry and residential construction. Supply disruptions and currency depreciation pushed up inflation to above the upper bound of the National Bank target range.

“The authorities acted early to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and the accumulated fiscal buffers allow the government to introduce a relief package to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy,” said Sjamsu Rahardja, Senior Country Economist, World Bank in Kazakhstan. “Weak demand and oil prices, as well as the protacted pandemic expose significant risks to the economic outlook. Authorities may want to consider using the available resources to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable, protect productive assets, and introduce reforms to sustain economic recovery.”

A prolonged crisis is likely to increase poverty and can increase inequality in Kazakhstan. Preliminary estimates suggest that poverty rate may rise in 2020 from a projected 8.3 to 12.7 percent – equating to more than 800 thousand additional people living in poverty. The shock to the labor market in Kazakhstan due to both the pandemic and the mitigation measures, is expected to have severe implications for jobs, particularly in sectors that employ low-skilled workers.

The report also argues that COVID-19 has a negative impact on human capital development in Kazakhstan. Unequal access to quality education, especially during lockdown, can negatively impact human capital development for the poor. School closures could result in learning loss of more than one-third of a school year and the impact could mean a decline in the Program for International Student Assessement (PISA) points. As most students in the country currently perform around the threshold for functional literacy and assuming some will lose more than others, the estimates suggest that the percentage of students performing below functional literacy will increase by 3 percentage points (from 64 to 67 percent).

“The impact of COVID-19 on education and learning losses will have a decades-long impact on the economy by an estimated 2.9 percent, amounting to an overall economic loss of up to $1.9 billion every year”, says Jean-Francois Marteau, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan.  “A focus on improving access to quality education, including distance learning, would be important to prevent a decline in the quality of human capital, especially among Kazakhstan’s low-income population.”

The report concludes that under the risk of a prolonged slump in the global oil market, Kazakhstan’s pathway for a resilient recovery may focus on strengthening the effectiveness of public administration and services, including the use of e-platforms to deliver key public services, better tax administration, and a mechanism to review and redeploy fiscal resources toward better state programs. A renewed emphasis on reforms in the logistics, digital telecommunications, and financial sectors could help the overall private sector explore new opportunities.

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China-Eurasia Council condemns aggression of Azerbaijan

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China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research strongly condemns Azerbaijani aggression which Baku started on July 12, 2020.  Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense is a threat for the entire World as it is speaking about its aims to strike Metsamor Nuclear Plant, which is located in Armenia. Baku must understand that this is a crime against humanity, and it is equal to nuclear strike.The destruction of Metsamor Nuclear plant will be a disaster not only for Armenia, but also for Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan, it will harm World’s environment and stand a real problem for several generations of the World. It is worth mentioning, that this time Baku attacked the Northern borders of Armenia, which are sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia according to International law. Azerbaijan violated the principle of territorial integrity of a sovereign state, which is one of the important pillars of International law.

China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research condemns Azerbaijan for using force against civilian population of Armenia and calls for peaceful negotiations. Baku must show solidarity and join global ceasefire initiated by the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and must not try to escalate the situation on the border to deflect public attention from the situation concerning the outbreak of Covid-19 in Azerbaijan. We call official Baku to take care of Azerbaijani people in the hard times of Coronavirus and not send its soldiers to real death.  Being multinational Council, for us It’s terrible to hear about lossfrom both sides and we express our sincere condolences. Hopefully peace will come to South Caucasus, which is an important crossroad in Eurasian mainland and it can stand a very important link for Belt and Road Initiative, if all problems solved in a peaceful way.

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Condemnation Of Armenian Aggression By Friends Of Azerbaijan (FoA)

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Friends of Azerbaijan (FoA) strongly condemns the coward act of Armenians aggression in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan that is a sheer violation of international borders and law. The act is an attempt of Armenia to drive global attention from the peaceful dialogue and negotiation process on Nagorno Karabakh.

In an online meeting of the delegates of the Friends of Azerbaijan (FoA), a joint declaration of condemnation has been issued by the honorable members of Friends of Azerbaijan (FoA). 

According to this declaration, Armenian aggression can jeopardize the whole South Caucasus region. The incident on July 12, 2020, is being considered as a direct attack on Azerbaijan and the repercussions of this incident can result in massive catastrophe in the entire region.


The delegates of Friends of Azerbaijan (FoA) stressed the global powers to come forward and take serious action on Armenian intervention by violating the international border of Azerbaijan. The act of Armenia is an open challenge to the sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

Malik Ayub Sumbal founder of Friends of Azerbaijan (FoA) termed that Armenia is losing its legal and moral position on Nagorno Karabakh and there is mounting pressure on Armenia by the international community for the peaceful solution of Nagorno Karabakh according to the UN Resolutions. At this time to get rid of such kind of diplomatic moves, Armenia has launched another major front in Tovuz. 

When the whole world is busy against the Covid19 Armenian Prime Minister has chosen a very dangerous path that can take the whole region into war and bloodshed. 

Friends of Azerbijan (FoA) is firmly standing with shoulder by shoulder to the people of Azerbaijan and martyr’s families at this hour.

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