Headlines from the Caspian: March 20, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Mar 20, 2023
Energy and Economy
Xi Meets with Putin to Discuss Ukraine
Monday, March 20, China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for the first time since the war in Ukraine began to discuss conflict resolution with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This comes only days after Putin was accused of committing war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Xi maintains that this is an effort to mediate a peaceful resolution between Ukraine and Russia, while some have asserted that this is an endorsement of the Kremlin in the face of recent war crime allegations.
EU Pledges 1 Billion Euros to Türkiye
On March 20, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the EU would dedicate 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) toward earthquake reconstruction efforts in Türkiye. “We need to mobilize for reconstruction. Homes and schools and hospitals must be rebuilt, with the highest standards of seismic safety. Water and sanitation, and other critical infrastructure must be repaired. Public services and businesses need capital to restart so that people can earn a living,” von der Leyen stated.
Kazakhstan’s Exports to Kyrgyzstan See a Fourfold Increase
According to the State Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan, exports from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan in January were up from $41,000 in 2022 to $191,000 in 2023. Last year, Kazakhstan was Kyrgyzstan’s largest trade partner, and this dynamic is looking to continue as trade relations strengthen.
Security and Politics
The Organization of Turkic States Held a Summit to Address Disaster Relief
On March 16, the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) held a summit in Ankara to establish new measures to cooperatively assist in natural disaster relief and to create mechanisms to avert future consequences of natural disasters. OTS member-states agreed to create a unified agency to provide emergency management and response, and they agreed to increase joint capacity-building activities.
Source: Caspian Policy Center
Blinken Offers U.S. Support toward Armenia-Azerbaijan Relations
On March 20, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, offered the United States support toward facilitating a bilateral peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to the U.S. State Department, Blinken during the discussion "reiterated U.S. support for direct talks and diplomacy to support a lasting and sustainable peace in the South Caucasus and stressed that there is no military solution."
President of Turkmenistan Meets with the Emir of Qatar
On March 20, Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with President of Turkmenistan, Sedar Berdimuhamedov, to discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations. Education, economy, investment, commerce, energy, sports, and social affairs were part of the meeting’s agenda, along with key regional and international issues.
Source: The Peninsula Qatar
Exit Polls in Kazakhstan Signals Changes to Legislature
According to three exit polls conducted in Kazakhstan's snap parliamentary elections, the fresh composition of the Lower House of the legislative body will be more diverse. While the ruling Amanat party is still set to receive 53 percent of the vote, the remainder will be comprised of different parties, some being new ones.
Interior Ministries of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan Discuss Bilateral Cooperation
On March 20, Kyrgyzstan’s Deputy Interior Minister, Major General Oktiabr Urmambetov, visited Uzbekistan where he met with Uzbekistan’s Interior Minister Lieutenant General Pulat Bobojonov, First Deputy Interior Minister Colonel Shavkat Rahmonov, and Deputy Interior Minister Major General Bekmurod Abdullaev. During this meeting, both sides discussed enhancing cooperation in crime prevention.
Source: AKI Press
Sources: AKI Press, AzerNews, Caspian Policy Center, CNN, Eurasianet, The Peninsula Qatar, Reuters, RFE/RL