Central Asia Reacts to Trump Assassination Attempt

An assassination attempt was made on former U.S. president Donald Trump last night, as the current Republican presidential candidate spoke at a rally in the town of Butler, Pennsylvania. Trump was wounded by a gunshot to the ear, before being removed from the stage by members of the US Secret Service.

Tragically, one audience member died in the assault, and another was injured.

A bloodied Trump said afterwards that he was “fine”, and was “not going to give up.” The Secret Service has announced that the attacker had been killed.

The attack on Trump has alarmed Central Asia and its countries’ leaders. Several heads of state have already publicly condemned the assassination attempt.

Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev strongly condemned the attempt on Trump’s life and gave him his support, wishing the former president a speedy recovery.

The press secretary of Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev commented that the president “is deeply concerned about the assassination attempt”, and “strongly condemns this act of violence and wishes Donald Trump a speedy recovery.”

The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, wrote that he was “Appalled and shocked by the attack on President Trump [sic]. We strongly condemn this act of political violence. We wish President Trump [sic] a soonest recovery.”


Jonathan Campion

Jonathan Campion is The Times of Central Asia's senior editor.


Erdogan: Turkey Wants to Become Full SCO Member

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced his country’s aspiration to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), at a press conference in Washington after the conclusion of the NATO summit.

“Turkey’s goal, which is now an observer in the SCO, is full membership. Now, it should join the Shanghai Five,” Erdogan stated.

The Turkish president attended the SCO summit held in Astana on July 3-4. SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming said that despite its membership of NATO, Turkey actively participates in the organization’s activities, which are not directed against other states. He emphasized that interaction with Ankara is based on the principles set out in the SCO charter and is in line with the “Shanghai spirit.”

Russian Securities Are Leaving Kazakhstan — Reports

The Central Securities Depository of Kazakhstan has urged those in the financial sector to send orders to withdraw Russian securities from their nominal holding by August 1.

These statements were reported by RBC, which referenced a notice letter by a Kazakhstani brokerage to its clients and a source within the financial sector, who confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

In the letter to clients, the broker informed them that he received a letter from the Kazakhstan depository notifying him about the necessity of completing deals with the National Settlement Depository by the end of the month.

Quoted by the broker, the message of the Kazakhstan depository states that, “The Central Securities Depository notifies you that you need to conduct transactions with the participation of National Settlement Depository JSC that are ordinary and necessary for the alienation of debt or shares in favor of non-U.S. persons and not included in the U.S. blocking sanctions list, by August 1, 2024. After this date, the possibility of executing orders by the Central Securities Depository on these financial instruments will be considered, taking into account the peculiarities of possible restrictions.”

In the letter, the Central Securities Depository informs clients in advance about possible restrictions and difficulties in executing orders on securities with the prefix RU before the ISIN after the specified date.

The Depository also added that when processing orders from clients, the Central Securities Depository will consider the possibility of their execution, considering the risks and consequences that may arise for itself.

“In essence, the letter says that they recommend finalizing all settlements and ridding Kazakhstan depository of securities with Russian ISINs. The Kazakhstan depository does not want to see these securities in portfolios,” – says Julia Khandoshko, CEO of European broker Mind Money.

In mid-June, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included the Moscow Exchange, which owns 13.1% of KASE shares, in the Specially Designated Nationals requiring sanctions list. The exact volume of Russian securities held in Kazakhstan is still being determined. However, from March to December 1, 2022, Bloomberg estimates that Kazakh brokers conducted transactions with Russian federal loan bonds totaling $1.4 billion.


Afghanistan Ready to Implement TAPI Project

The meeting of Turkmenistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Khoji Ovezov, with Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki in Kabul demonstrated specific dynamics in implementing the TAPI gas pipeline project.

The news agency Alemarah reported the talks centered on the TAPI project and its advancement in Afghanistan. Diplomats discussed the possibility of increasing the pipeline’s capacity, which could significantly increase the volume of Turkmen gas supplies to Pakistan and India.

In addition to TAPI, the sides considered expanding transit and transportation connections through the Turgundi station and the joint electric power project of the Nurul Jihad substation in Herat province.

The Afghan side assured determination to resolve the outstanding issues on the TAPI project and start actual work. “We are preparing all the necessary documents and starting preparations for construction,” Amir Khan Muttaki said.

The minister also noted the work being done to develop railroad facilities in the dry port of Turgundi and promised to update Turkmenistan soon.

Taliban official Zabihullah Mujahid recently announced Afghanistan’s readiness to develop the TAPI project further and cooperate with regional countries to create a North-South international transport corridor.

@Kazakh Invest

Kazakhstan Seeks to Increase Local Content in Oil and Gas Equipment Production

From July 10 to 12, the Kazakhstani city of Atyrau hosted the Oil and Gas Machine Building Forum. The Forum aimed to develop local content and support domestic manufacturers of oil and gas equipment and local suppliers of works and services for the sector.

The event also included Open Doors Days for three major oil and gas operators in Kazakhstan: Tengizchevroil, North Caspian Operating Company, and Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V.

As reported by the Kazakh Ministry of Energy, these three major subsoil users account for 70% of all oil and gas equipment purchases in Kazakhstan.

Speaking at the Forum, Vice Minister of Energy Alibek Zhamauov said that both Kazakhstan’s president and prime minister outlined several specific tasks aimed at developing local content in the oil and gas sector. Particular attention, they said, should be paid to increasing the share of Kazakhstani goods, works and services in the sector’s purchases, creating new as well as modernizing existing production facilities, localizing the production of the most popular products in Kazakhstan, as well as moving design offices to the country, with the mandatory involvement of local engineers and design companies.

Due to efforts of the Ministry of Energy, in May of this year contracts were signed between Tengizchevroil, North Caspian Operating Company, and Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. and domestic manufacturers for the purchase of locally made oil and gas equipment worth $240 million.

Speaking at the Forum, Leyla Gimranova, Deputy Director of the Project Department at Kazakh Invest, emphasized that oil and gas engineering could become a new growth point in developing domestic added-value production and import substitution.

She said that last year, Kazakhstan produced oil and gas equipment for $72.7 million and imported such equipment for $1 billion. “This is a significant difference that needs to be reduced. Therefore, we are actively working to identify priority goods for import substitution, the production of which is possible based on existing domestic enterprises,” Gimranova said.

Uzbekistan’s Investment in Kazakhstan Reaches Record Levels

The volume of gross direct investment flow from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan in 2023 was a record $22.2 million, as reported by Zakon.kz. This is the largest statistic recorded since the end of 2005.

Last year, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan implemented several important investment projects. In particular, $71.2 million was invested into the production of Chevrolet Onix cars in the Kostanay region. A metal rolling plant was built in the Almaty region after a roughly $57 million investment. Lastly, a facility to produce various sterile pharmaceutical and hygiene products was established in Shymkent following an approximately $9.3 million investment.

The increase in investment offers from Uzbekistan is reported to be related to the positive business environment in Kazakhstan. The report notes that extremely favorable conditions have been created for business in the neighboring country. The current conditions in Kazakhstan effectively protect the rights of investors and thus encourage investments.

The governments of Tashkent and Astana recently signed a Treaty to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The countries agreed to increase the volume of mutual trade to $10 billion and expand business relations soon.

According to the Telegram channel “Data Hub,” Uzbekistan had become the third largest foreign investor, surpassing China, regarding the number of companies registered in Kazakhstan. These statistics show that Uzbekistan is increasingly becoming an important trade partner for Kazakhstan.