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

Dimitris Giannakopoulos



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] 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”

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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IRENA to Help Deliver Low-Carbon 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China




The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has today signed a co-operation agreement with the People’s Government of Hebei Province, China to provide the city of Zhangjiakou with a renewable energy roadmap that will support its ambition to deliver a low-carbon Winter Olympics in 2022. The agreement will also help the city become China’s first energy transition pilot city. As co-host of the Winter Olympics with Beijing, Zhangjiakou aims to generate 50 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

The agreement, signed by IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and the Governor of Hebei Province, Xu Qin, will support the establishment of a ‘low-carbon Olympic zone’ in Zhangjiakou, with plans for both the Olympic centre and Olympic stadiums to be powered by renewable energy. IRENA will also provide strategic advice in the context of the development of an International Center for Renewable Energy Industry Innovation in Zhangjiakou City.

“China has made remarkable progress in the pursuit of renewable energy and in the transition towards a modern energy system,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin at the signing of the Memoradum of Understanding. “From renewable energy adoption to technological innovation – China is emerging as a leader of the new energy economy and a key actor in energy transformation.

“The pursuit of a low-carbon Winter Olympics in 2022 will not only support China’s ambition to lower harmful emissions, but it will also see them pioneer a movement towards the cost-effective decarbonisation of the world’s greatest spectacles,” continued Mr. Amin. “This agreement reflects the Agency’s deepening cooperation with China and will facilitate a positive, two-way exchange of expertise and knowledge.”

Governor of Hebei Province, Mr. Xu Qin said: “President Xi Jinping’s strategic vision for an ecological civilization has significantly advanced environmental protection in China, greatly benefiting Chinese people whilst representing China’s contribution to global green development. Hebei Province will realise the vision proposed by President Xi, by prioritising ecological protection and exercising green development, as we expedite the speed at which we build a beautiful Hebei.

Mr Xu continued: “With abundant renewable energy resources – particularly the area of Zhangjiakou City – the potential of this cooperation with IRENA is broad and bright. As both sides work to advance R&D, technology innovation and the broader development of the renewable energy industry, this will support our planning for a low-carbon Winter Olympic Games.”

The Games will be the first major global sporting event held in China since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Co-host Zhangjiakou, located approximately 200 kilometers from Beijing, has been identified as having a strong renewable energy resource endowment, with abundant wind, solar and biomass potential in the region.

Between 2012 and 2016 China witnessed a 10-fold increase in solar energy adoption, and in 2017 alone, it added 53 GW of PV. China announced an intention to invest USD 361 billion in renewable power generation by 2020. China chaired IRENA’s 14th and 15th Council Meetings and is President of the Agency’s 9th Meeting of the Assembly in January next year.

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9th International Black Sea Symposium: Blue Growth as a driver for regional development




The International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) organized successfully the 9th International Black Sea Symposium on Blue Growth as a driver for regional development, in Athens, on 20-21 March 2018.

In its ninth year, the International Black Sea Symposium (IBSS) built on the success and positive impact of its previous eight editions to bring together the next generation of stakeholders with an interest in the Black Sea area, focusing on blue growth, a long term strategy for sustainable development in the marine and maritime sectors.

Opening the Symposium, ICBSS Director General Mr. Georgios Mitrakos, highlighted the importance of coordinated action among all involved stakeholders that will allow for a result-oriented strategy and inclusive blue growth. To this end, as he noted, the aim of the 9th IBSS was to enable constructive dialogue and generate future synergies.

Keynote speech was delivered by the Secretary General of the BSEC Organisation, H.E. Ambassador Michael B. Christides. Opening his speech, Amb. Christides underlined “Growth was, is and will remain the objective of humans”. He continued stressing that, our adaptation to the continuously growing technological impact and innovation demands for joint cooperation and coordination. As he noted,“the BSEC Organisation has invested a lot of efforts in new realities” and will continue to support initiatives that aim to motivate the youth and “bring forward a new generation of stakeholders”.

The Symposium was developed in four targeted sessions, focusing on i) interregional cooperation and governance, ii) entrepreneurship and competitiveness, iii) investment in people, skills and services, and iv) knowledge and mitigation measures.

Within two days of interactive discussions, seventy participants, speakers and observers had the opportunity to network, to exchange knowledge and to form ideas for new joint projects related to sustainable blue growth in the wider Black Sea region.

Among the distinguished participants of the 9th IBSS were the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Piraeus, Mr. Petros Kokkalis, the Deputy Secretary General of PABSEC, Mr. Miltiadis Makrygiannis, the Honorary Consul of Italy in Piraeus, Capt. Mauro Renaldi, the first Secretary of the Embassy of Italy, Mr. Enrico Barbato, Senior Officials from the Embassies of the BSEC Member States in Athens and the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Romanian Diplomatic Academy and Chairman of the ICBSS Board, Mr. Dan Petre, Mr. Leornardo Manzari, Director of the European Institute of EurAsian Dialogue in Italy, as well as policy-makers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, civil society representatives and researchers primarily from the countries of the wider Black Sea area and the EU member states.

The results of the 9th IBSS will be published in a collective edition of the ICBSS Xenophon Paper Series, which will include the contributions of speakers and participants to the event.

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Poland must make urgent legislative reforms to combat foreign bribery

MD Staff



Poland must make urgent progress on carrying out key recommendations of the OECD Working Group on Bribery that remain unimplemented, more than four years after its Phase 3 evaluation in June 2013.

Poland still needs to take urgent steps to ensure companies can be held responsible for foreign bribery, even if the persons who perpetrated the offence are not convicted. In addition, Poland must increase the fines for companies in order to ensure foreign bribery is punishable by effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions.

The Working Group is disappointed by Poland’s failure to take measures to ensure that the “impunity” provision in the Penal Code that applies to foreign and domestic bribery cannot be applied to the bribery of foreign public officials. This provision allows perpetrators of bribery to automatically escape punishment by notifying the law enforcement authorities of the offence before the authorities learn about it from other sources.

In the context of ongoing reforms, Poland should also ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect from retaliatory or disciplinary action private and public sector employees who report suspected acts of foreign bribery in good faith and on reasonable grounds.

The Working Group reviewed a report submitted by Poland on its progress in implementing these outstanding recommendations at its plenary meeting on 13-15 March 2018. The Working Group requested that Poland provide a written report on further progress in addressing these concerns in December 2018, at which time the Group will consider additional measures in the absence of significant progress.

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