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Caspian Sea Working Group Meeting

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The 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region for Monday, June 1:

1An Iranian foreign ministry official said good achievements have been made in fixing the Caspian Sea borders as well as outlining the legal regime of the sea. Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affaris Ebrahim Rahimpour made the remarks in the 40th meeting of the special working group of the Caspian Sea on June 1, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported. All these efforts, he went on to note, culminated in the 4th summit of the Caspian Sea littoral countries where three important documents on the cooperation in living water resources, meteorology and preventing unpredicted disasters were signed. The agreements certainly paved the way for removing many of the existing problems in the Caspian Sea and gave rise to hopes for settling the remaining issues in near future.The 40th meeting of the special working group of the Caspian Sea opened June 1 in Tehran, with deputy foreign ministers of the five Caspian Sea littoral states in attendance.

2Europe is on alert: while European businessmen continue to lose money and market share due to the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Brussels under intense pressure from the US, Washington has quietly stepped up its business with Russia. Trade turnover between the EU and Russia shrank by almost ten percent in the first two months of 2015 year-on-year, while Russian statistics shows that trade between the US and Russia spiked by approximately 6 percent, states German weekly magazine Der Spiegel. “The Americans have exercised great pressure on Europe to impose tough sanctions,” Der Spiegel quotes Frank Schauff, CEO of the Association of European Business in Moscow as saying. “While it is worth mentioning that they themselves extended their trade with Russia last year.” [SPUTNIKNEWS]

3The two turbans. Iran is a great regional force in the Middle East and has a profound influence over its Arab neighbours, having trained various militias around the Arab World. It is also militarily well-equipped and prepared, counting on a strong Army and Navy, which makes the other countries very uncomfortable, especially those from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (this is not to say that they are not making Iran nervous with their close bond to the US). Writes Luísa Monteiro for Modern Diplomacy.

4Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to NATO with the support of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) organized a Photo Exhibition “Azerbaijan and Europe: Competitors in Sport, Partners for Peace” at NATO HQ, dedicated to the twenty one years of Azerbaijan-NATO partnership and Baku 2015 First European Games. Photos demonstrating different aspects of Azerbaijan-NATO partnership, including political dialogue, contribution to operations, civil emergency planning, public diplomacy and defence cooperation, as well as, selected photos of photography competition organised by the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) dedicated to the Baku 2015 First European Games were exhibited.

5The longest gas pipeline on Turkmenistan’s territory, East-West pipeline will be commissioned soon. The country’s leadership attaches great importance to this. The general contractor of the pipeline is Turkmengaz state concern. This pipeline will link the fields in Turkmenistan’s east with its west part on the coast of the Caspian Sea from where there can be an opportunity to enter the world markets – Europe – through the Caspian Sea and Russia along the coast of the sea. The Caspian Coastal Pipeline, through Kazakhstan to Russia, halted after a decrease in Turkmen gas purchases by Gazprom.

6“Russia obviously retains the right, if needed, to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere on its national territory, including on the Crimean Peninsula,” the Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov told the RIA Novosti news agency today. Ulyanov added that the US missile defense plans remain a major challenge in relations between Moscow and Washington.“Of all the factors which are negatively affecting strategic stability, the most significant is the creation of the (US) National Missile Defense program,” he said, adding that the system was being developed step by step.

7Iran plans $16bn investment in mineral sector. Iran is planning investments of around $15 billion during its sixth five-year economic development plan (2015-2020) to develop mining projects and raise the production capacity of steel, aluminium and copper industries, a report said. Iran’s steel production capacity is slated to increase from the current 23 million tonnes to 40.3 million tonnes by 2020, Deputy Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade Mehdi Karbasian was quoted in an Iran Daily report, which cited Press TV. “Iran ranks among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of mineral reserves which stands at an estimated 60 billion tonnes,” Karbasian said, noting that more than 68 types of minerals have been discovered in the country.[TradeArabia]

8Iran`s soft solutions for hard realities. Many of the leverage in the Iranian soft power rests in the values of the Islamic republic, deriving from the Shiite Muslim traditions. The influence is two-fold: one part is composed from creating bonds with Shiite communities all over the world, forming a good basis for support of the country`s policies. The other is centered around promoting the particular Islamic revolution culture and traditions abroad through the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), subordinated directly to the Supreme Leader`s Office. Writes Petra Posega for Modern Diplomacy.

9Kazakhstan’s businessmen have been invited to do business in Croatia, Tengrinews reports. “We need your growth, your energy, because Kazakhstan is a country of social and economic growth. We are a civilised state open for investments. We are building hotels, of course, probably not as big as they are here. But, in any case, we meet the needs of tourism in Central and Northern Europe. You may also contribute to it. And your investors can make money here,” Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said at the Kazakh-Croatian business forum in Astana on May 27. [TENGRINEWS]

10Credit cards are once again becoming popular in Kazakhstan, according to the Kazakh analytical service Ranking.kz. As the analytical service said, over a period from April 2014 to April 2015, the number of the active credit cards in Kazakhstan rose by 19 percent up to 413,000. In comparison, the number of active debit cards rose over the period in Kazakhstan by only six percent. Some 15 percent of the credit cards were used in Kazakhstan in April 2015, while in April 2014, this figure was 9.5 percent. The number of other kinds of active cards (prepaid and debit cards with a loan limit) grew in Kazakhstan over the year by 104,400 up to 590,000.

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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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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Kyrgyz Republic to Enhance Quality of Education with World Bank Financing

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The Kyrgyz Republic will receive World Bank financing for the Learning for the Future Project in the amount of $50 million, on highly concessional terms. $25 million is allocated in the form of a grant, which requires no repayment, while the other $25 million is credit with a 0.75% interest rate, with repayments eased over 38 years, and a six-year grace period.

“The Learning for the Future Project aims to help raise the Kyrgyz Republic’s human capital through enhancing school readiness and teacher effectiveness,” says Bolormaa Amgaabazar, World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic. “The project puts special emphasis on distance and online learning, increasing digital literacy and building teacher capacity for best teaching-learning practice. Such support will help the country’s education system better respond to learning from home during the current school closures and recovery period from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long run, this approach will help better prepare children for learning and adapting to a fast-changing future economy.”

The project has four main areas of support: expanding school readiness for underserved children; increasing effectiveness in teaching practice; enhancing technology-enabled support for learning; and enhancing measurement of learning. In the coming five years, the project will specifically help:

  • Establish 500 fully equipped community-based kindergartens in rehabilitated premises, thus enabling a successful transition to school for 20,000 children aged 3-5 years, in poor communities countrywide; 
  • Build teacher competencies for more effective teaching of reading, mathematics and sciences in primary and secondary schools, through training in effective pedagogy and assessment, provision of digital learning content, resources and materials in 1,200 schools (53 percent of the total number of schools in the country);
  • Provide digital literacy training for 36,000 teachers to enhance their capacities to use digital technologies for professional development and effective teaching;
  • Equip 1,200 schools with an IT platform to support technology-enabled teaching and learning. The Republican Institute of In-Service Teacher Training will assist in developing digital content for teaching and learning;
  • Introduce a new criteria-based assessment instrument and methodology, develop and introduce standardized tests aligned with new learning standards, conduct the National Learning Assessment in 2023 for grades 4 and 8, and participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2024.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic during 2020-2025, using its existing institutional structures and in compliance with relevant World Bank procedures and standards.

The project supports the World Bank’s 2019-2022 Country Partnership Framework for the Kyrgyz Republic and is closely aligned with the National Education Sector Strategy-2040 of the Ministry of Education and Science, which is now under development. The project was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on March 31, 2020 and was ratified by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic on June 11, 2020.

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