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headlines from the caspian: march 4, 2024

Headlines from the Caspian: March 4, 2024

Author: Caspian Policy Center

Mar 4, 2024

Image source: devex.com

Energy and Economy


Islamic Development Bank Implementing Projects in Kazakhstan Worth $1.7 Billion

On March 4, at a meeting of Kazakh policymakers and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) officials held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, IDB President Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser announced that his organization had implemented about 70 projects in Kazakhstan worth a total of $1.7 billion. Al Jasser spoke optimistically of Kazakhstan’s economic potential and seemed to suggest the IDB was eager to pursue future investment. 

Source: Astana Times, BNN News

OPEC+ Members Agree to Extend Oil Production Cuts in Q2

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allied bloc OPEC+ have reportedly agreed to extend their voluntary crude oil cuts until the second quarter of 2024. Kazakhstan, a member of OPEC+, is expected to extend its oil production cuts by 82,000 barrels per day. In total, production cuts among the members will amount to approximately 2 million barrels per day.

Source: Rigzone, Vestnik Kavkaza

EU Commissioner of Energy Attends Baku Meetings, Announces Energy Expansion 

On March 1, European Union Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson arrived in Baku to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council and the Green Energy Advisory Council. There, she announced that the EU was ready to increase gas supplies from Azerbaijan to 20 billion cubic meters by 2027. While in Baku, Simson and her Azerbaijani counterparts also signed a Memorandum of Understanding relating to wind energy production, and pledged EU cooperation on Azerbaijan’s green energy transition.

Source: Aze.media, European Commission 

Azerbaijan-Iran Commercial Rail Transit Up 28%

Gholam Hossein Valadi, the director of Iran’s North Railway Administration-2, announced on February 28 that from March 2023 to February 2024 the amount of goods transited by rail between Azerbaijan and Iran had increased 28%. Tehran and Baku have had historically rough relations in a number of areas, including last year's controversy surrounding a shooting at Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran.

Source: Aze.media, MEHR News Agency

Security and Politics


Germany Hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Talks

On February 28, the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia attended two days of trilateral meetings hosted in Berlin by German Foreign Secretary Annalena Baerbock. Secretary Baerbock spoke positively of the talks and stated that Azerbaijan and Armenia had agreed to continue discussions. However, it is not clear that any concrete agreement was reached on contentious issues currently dividing the parties.

Source: Euronews, Arab News

Russia Continues to Source Chips and Other Dual-Use Goods from China Through Central Asia

According to Chinese customs data, China’s exports of “dual-use” goods—including U.S. chips, routers, ball bearings used in tanks, and drones—to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have seen a significant surge since February 2022. These goods are then transferred to Russia to be used in their war against Ukraine and for domestic consumption. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

U.S. CDC and Uzbekistan Jointly Launch Central Asia Field Epidemiology Training Program 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with Uzbekistan’s Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiologic Welfare and Public Health, launched the Central Asia Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) on March 4. The new program, in collaboration with Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, will provide specialized training to health professionals working to improve public health threat responses in the region.

Source: US Embassy in Uzbekistan 

UN Warns Land Degradation Poses Significant Threat to Central Asia

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has warned that “landscapes in Central Asia are among the most rapidly degrading and climate-vulnerable areas worldwide.” The report attributed unsustainable agriculture practices as a main cause of the degradation of over 20% of Central Asia’s land mass.

Source: Astana Times

Turkmenistan to Potentially Become a Member of the Organization of Turkic States in 2024

On the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum held in Türkiye, Chairman of the People's Council of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov announced the possibility of Turkmenistan becoming a member-state of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in the upcoming summit. Turkmenistan, which currently has an observer status within the organization, is expected to host a representative summit for the heads of states in 2024. 

Source: Trend News Agency

Sources: Arab News, Astana Times, Aze.media, BNN News, European Commission, Euronews, MEHR News Agency, Rigzone, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan, Vestnik Kavkaza.

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