Headlines from the Caspian: December 12, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Dec 13, 2022
Energy and Economy
Hungary and Romania Sign Electricity Deal with Azerbaijan
On December 17, leaders of Hungary, Romania, and Azerbaijan will meet in Romania’s capital city, Bucharest, to complete the signing of an undersea electricity connector. With this agreement, Azerbaijan will soon be providing the EU with “green energy” through a cable running beneath the Black Sea, delivering electricity to Hungary via Georgia and Romania. The project is estimated to be complete within four years, helping the EU further diversify energy sources.
Source: Yahoo Finance
EU Announces €2.3 Billion Investment in Georgia’s Green Energy Sector
On December 11, the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Policy announced that the EU would grant €17 billion to its Eastern Partnership (EaP), with €2.3 specifically allocated toward the Black Sea Strategic Submarine Electricity Cable Initiative. The construction of this cable would essentially connect Georgia to Romania and thus enable Georgia to export green energy to Europe. This would happen through constructing a “high-voltage underwater transmission grid.”
EU Allocates up to €2 Billion to Azerbaijan
On December 8, the European Union (EU) announced that it will allocate up to €2 Billion to Azerbaijan as a part of the EU’s Economic Investment Plan. The investments will contribute to the state's efforts to diversify the economy further, create jobs within the country, and promote inclusive rural development.
Sources: Caucasus Watch, News.az
Russia Aims to Move Forward with the Tripartite Gas Union, Despite Skepticism from Uzbekistan
On December 9, the Spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov denied allegations that Moscow is pursuing the idea out of political, rather than commercial considerations in regard to its proposed tripartite gas union with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. On December 7, Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister Jorabek Mirzamahmudov said that even if any gas agreements concluded with Russia would be considered “a technical contract, not a union.”
Sources: Eurasianet, Reuters.
Kyrgyzstan and the UAE Discuss Strengthening Economic Relationship
Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Zhaparov attended a working meeting in Abu Dhabi where he held talks with the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abdullah bin Tuk Al-Marri. In the meetings, they discussed their deepening economic relationship and a desire to continue strengthening trade and economic ties in the future.
Source: OANA News
Kyrgyzstan Kicks off Meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council
On December 9, Kyrgyzstan hosted the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC), the highest governing body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, and Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Board Chairman Mikhail Myasnikovich all attended the meeting.
Sources: CGTN, Astana Times
U.S. Department of Treasury Sanctions over 40 Individuals and Entities for Corruption and Human Rights Abuses
On December 9, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in recognition of the International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day, sanctioned a list of over 40 individuals connected to corruption and human rights abuses. The list includes individuals and entities operating in the Western Balkans, Belarus, Liberia, Guatemala, the Russian Federation, Burma, Iran, China, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.
Sources: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Reuters.
Security and Policy
Georgia Implements Significant Changes to its Military
Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili announced on December 12 that, as part of Georgia's New Defense Code, “major changes” will be made to military rules. More concessions for the country’s compulsory military service will be made, primarily to prevent evasion of military service. Changes will include providing living accommodation for recruits and their families, as well as enacting more flexibility for students.
Minister of Culture of Kyrgyzstan Meets with Russian Counterpart
Kyrgyzstan's Minister of Culture, Altynbek Maksutov, met with Russia’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Vladimir Osintsev, on December 12 at the National Historical Museum in Bishkek. The leaders took part in the closing ceremony of the Cross Year of Russia and Kyrgyzstan. They expressed a desire for continued mutual bilateral cooperation and discussed plans for meetings in 2023.
Source: AKI Press
Azerbaijan and Georgia to send Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine
Azerbaijan has sent trucks with humanitarian aid supplies to Ukraine, and the same day, Georgia also announced it will be sending additional generators. A fleet of trucks holding 45 transformers and 50 generators, provided by Azerenergy OJSC, were sent from the Gobu energy hub on December 10. This round of aid was estimated to be USD$837,000, totaling in an overall USD$17.7 million in aid to Ukraine from Azerbaijan. Georgia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Devlopment has announced additional aid and will soon complete the shipment.
Standoffs Between Russian Peacekeepers and Azerbaijani NGOs in Karabakh
On December 12, a group of Azerbaijani environmental organizations held a demonstration on the road near Shusha. The protesters were calling attention to illegal mining in Karabakh, and the use of the road to transport the minerals into Armenia. There were scuffles between the protesters and the Russian peacekeeping troops, who were on the scene to break up the protests
Sources: Agenda.ge, AKI Press, Astana Times, Caucasus Watch, CGTN, Daily Sabah, Eurasianet, OANA News, Reuters, Ukrinform