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
1The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the recognition by the international community of the legal status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan in accordance with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution. For the first time in the history of the United Nations General Assembly, the adoption of the Special Resolution on 12 December 1995, entitled “On the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” became a recognition of the peaceful foreign policy of this country and an approval of the authoritative role of Turkmenistan as a state that can make a worthy contribution to the peaceful development of international relations and ensuring universal security and steady progress. Turkmen neutrality model assumes that contemporary international law is the law of peace, and that constantly, a neutral state must adhere to its status not only in wartime, but also in peacetime. As a new phenomenon in international legal practice, Turkmen neutrality has become the basis of a new concept of cooperation and achievement of world peace.
2Russia’s newly amended Maritime Doctrine took effect Sunday upon approval from President Vladimir Putin. The Doctrine underscored friendly relations with China in the Pacific Ocean as a key element of Russia’s naval policy.”Business cooperation in the naval sphere plays and important role in the development of trusting strategic bilateral relations,” the ministry stated.The two countries have conducted joint naval exercises, provided convoys for vessels and exchanged expertise, the statement said.According to the ministry, cooperation between the two countries contributes to peace and stability in the region and throughout the world. [Sputniknews]
3Oman, Iran close in on $60 billion gas plan. An Omani delegation is in Tehran for the finalization of the operational plan for transfer of the Iranian gas to the sultanate via a pipeline across the Persian Gulf, a top energy official says.“Currently, the Iranian adviser for studying (the subsea section of) the pipeline for 200 kilometers from Kuh-e Mubarak to Oman’s Sohar port has been chosen,” head the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Alireza Kameli said Wednesday.The onshore section of the pipeline in Iran will be built for another 200 km from Rudan to Kuh-e Mubarak, he added.“According to the plan, engineering studies in both the offshore and onshore sections will be carried out simultaneously so that the implementation of the two lines does not hit a snag,” Kameli added.The $60 billion deal was concluded during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Muscat in 2013 to ship 10 million cubic meters per day of the Iranian gas to Oman for a period of 15 years.
4Greece, Azerbaijan resuming DESFA talks. Next week, the Greek government will resume talks with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR on the sale of a controlling interest in Greece’s gas transmission system operator DESFA, the Kathimerini newspaper quoted Panos Skourletis, the productive reconstruction, environment and energy minister of Greece, as saying July 29. The main topic of discussion, as Skourletis said, will be the share in DESFA, which will be sold to SOCAR.In early May, Bloomberg reported that Greece’s government is considering the sale of 49 percent share in DESFA to SOCAR.SOCAR won a tender in December 2013 on the sale of the 66 percent share in DESFA for 400 million euros.Currently, the deal is being considered by European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, and the procedure will last until late 2015.
5Land-Locked Kazakhstan Plans to Build a Blue-Water Commercial Fleet. Kazakhstan plans to expand its shipping fleet on the Caspian Sea and to acquire, for the first time, a blue-water one (Np.kz, July 23). Its maritime strategy is aimed to allow this Caspian-littoral Central Asian republic both to take advantage of the cost-savings of ship transport and to make itself less dependent on foreign shippers, including Russian ones. [Jamestown]
6Iran and Turkmenistan are targeted to pump up their bilateral trade volume up to $60 billion in the upcoming 10 years, the Iranian Industry Minister said in his meeting with the Turkmen Foreign Minister on Tuesday.”According to the agreements made by the presidents of the two countries, mutual trade volume is to hit $60 bln in the following ten years,” Iranian Industry, Mine, and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said in his meeting with Turkmen Foreign Affairs Minister Rashid Meredov.The Iranian minister referred to foregoing cultural and historical joints and underscored the necessity of expanding ties between the two countries’ private sector.Nematzadeh also announced Iran’s readiness to ease its technical, infrastructural, and industrial transactions with Turkmenistan.
7US foundation first ‘undesirable’ foreign group. Russian prosecutors Tuesday declared the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy the first “undesirable” foreign group under a controversial new law to ban overseas organisations deemed a threat.”Taking into account the overall aim of the endowment’s work, prosecutors came to the conclusion that it presents a threat to the constitutional order of Russia, its defence capabilities and state security,” the prosecutors said in a statement.They accused the American non-profit organisation of using local NGOs to undermine elections and organise political rallies in the country.”The National Endowment for Democracy participated in work to declare the results of election campaigns illegitimate, to organise political demonstrations aimed at influencing decisions taken by state institutions and to discredit service in the Russian armed forces,” the statement said.
8Iran cancels visa requirements for citizens of Azerbaijan. Iran canceled the visas for the citizens of seven countries, Oxu.Az reports citing the Iranian newspaper Kayhan. From now on tourists from Turkey, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bolivia, Egypt and Syria can travel to Iran without a visa.
9Kazakhstan is considering to establish oil consortium to ensure the implementation of the Eurasia international oil project in the Caspian basin, according to remarks made by Kazakhstan’s Deputy Energy Minister Uzakbai Karabalin at a July 27.”Kazakhstan is considering the establishment of the consortium on public-private partnership with the further implementation of works on the Eurasia project in 2016-2021 in order to ensure the implementation of tasks, in particular on such a large project,” he said. Karabalin also noted that Kazakhstan is developing a legal code on ubsoil and its adoption is scheduled for 2015-2016. The government plans to make amendments to the Tax Code in order to reduce the tax burden in conducting geological research, exploration of subsoils, as well as the implementation of the contract on the geological study of the Caspian Basin.
10Azerbaijan, France to expand military cooperation. Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov met with French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Pascal Monnier, the Azerbaijani defense ministry said. During the meeting, the sides discussed the military-political situation in the region and the successfully developing relations in the military sphere. They stressed the importance of expanding activity in this direction.
China-Eurasia Council condemns aggression of Azerbaijan
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.
Condemnation Of Armenian Aggression By Friends Of Azerbaijan (FoA)
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.
Kyrgyz Republic to Enhance Quality of Education with World Bank Financing
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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