• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 76

What Does Raisi’s Death Mean for the Caspian Sea Region?

By Robert M. Cutler The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter accident on May 19 will have significant effects on Iranian domestic politics and foreign policy. These include not only Iran's relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan directly, but also indirectly through the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR, also called the "Middle Corridor") and the International North–South Transit Corridor (INSTC). Despite conspiracy theories, the only reasonable alternative hypothesis to an accidental crash is that the pilot intentionally ran the helicopter into the mountain head-on at full speed. Both possibilities may be subsumed under the category "Act of God". Raisi was working to normalize relations with Azerbaijan and was seen as a potential - even likely - future Supreme Leader of Iran, succeeding the 85-year-old Ali Khamenei, who is in poor health. Now, however, it is not out of the question that his death leads to a reorientation of Tehran's foreign policy and a wave of radicalization. The outcome will depend upon the obscure machinations of the theocratic and security-service elite, for which the formal organizational and constitutional arrangements set the framework but do not determine the result. The Iranian president is not the most powerful individual in the country's political system, but he is still influential. Raisi had sought to improve ties with Azerbaijan, including water projects on the Aras River and discussions about transportation links. These initiatives may now face delays or even reversals. Yerevan's strategic significance for Tehran's relationship with Moscow and its broader regional ambitions will not diminish; indeed, their bilateral military-industrial cooperation has only grown since Russia's re-invigoration of its war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. At the same time, Tehran's relations with Baku are more complicated, for myriad present-day and historical reasons, not least but not only concerning the Azerbaijani minority in Iran.   The South Caucasus and Trans-Caspian Implications Armenia and Azerbaijan are nevertheless persevering in their bilaterally-based practical cooperation and peace negotiations, now proceeding without third-party mediation. The most recent high-level meeting in this process took place between their respective foreign ministers in Almaty on May 10–11. These significant discussions followed talks between them in Berlin in February of this year, and they took place in the context of ongoing efforts to delimit and demarcate the two countries' common border. Delimitation refers to drawing and describing lines on maps, whereas demarcation is the process of installing physical markers on the territory. Demarcation has already begun in the sensitive Tovuz region, and the Russian contingent assisting Armenian border guards under a bilateral agreement has already been withdrawn. In April, as a result of this process, Armenia returned four villages to Azerbaijan. Unresolved issues involve territorial claims against Azerbaijan in Armenia's constitution and the reopening of regional transit routes. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's initiative for the necessary constitutional reforms, along with his border-demarcation initiatives and continuing peace negotiations, have provoked anti-government protests in Armenia, fueled by the irredentist and xenophobic segments of the diaspora, which are the best established, most...

Is the China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan Railway Project Losing Steam Again?

By Robert M. Cutler The China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan (CKU) railway was first proposed in 1997. There seemed finally to be a prospect for a start to the project after agreements at the Xi'an summit amongst China and the five Central Asian countries in May 2023. Construction on the 523-kilometre route was scheduled to begin several months after, but this has still not happened. Disagreements over the route and—still worse—over the funding risk relegating the project back to the drawing-boards where it has languished for over a quarter-century. After the initial agreement in 1997, it was these essentially unchanging disagreements over financing and the route within Kyrgyzstan that stalled negotiations, and over a final agreement of conditions for its construction in the early 2000s. These disagreements concern the geo-economic strategies of the respective parties, and they have not changed in over two decades.  China favors a shorter route, while Kyrgyzstan pushes for a longer one to benefit its domestic infrastructure. Specifically, Kyrgyzstan wants to use the railway's construction to establish better connections between the northern and southern parts of the country, which are separated by a mountain range.   Further difficulties in CKU implementation For Uzbekistan, a turning-point was its decision in 2017 to send railway experts to discuss the project with Kyrgyzstan. Then in 2019, Uzbekistan invited Turkey to co-finance the Kyrgyz section. The current cost of the whole project is estimated at $6 billion. A preliminary agreement has been reached on the division of this total, according to which each of the three parties will contribute 30 per cent (but at different stages of the project), with the source of the final 10 per cent including the cost of the feasibility study still to be determined. Despite this progress, public concerns in Kyrgyzstan over several critical practical issues remain unaddressed and continue to complicate a final agreement. These include the anticipated influx of Chinese workers, the professional development of local railway engineers, the allocation of investments for industrial projects along the railway corridor and the facilitation of increased exports of Kyrgyzstan's products to the Chinese market. These elements are essential for the long-term viability and success of the CKU railway initiative. Interestingly, these are very similar to the concerns of Kazakhstan that delayed the construction of the first (i.e., the Atasu–Alashankou) segment of the Kazakhstan–China oil export pipeline in the early 2000s. Moreover, China originally insisted on compensation from Bishkek for its contribution in the form of ownership of Kyrgyz mines, including the world’s second-largest iron-ore reserve at Zhetim Too, which Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov claims is worth at least $50 billion. It does not help matters that this site adjoins a large glacier, the water from which is crucial for irrigation of major Kyrgyz agricultural holdings.   Other Uzbek initiatives for infrastructure connectivity On 1 November 2023, at a forum of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) meeting in Tashkent, transportation officials from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed a memorandum to establish a new Kyrgyzstan–Russia trade corridor through Turkmenistan (who, incidentally,...

Kazakhstan Creates Caspian Sea Research Institute

The Kazakhstan government has approved the establishment of the Caspian Sea Research Institute, its Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said on January 26th.  The new institute will study the environmental problems of the Caspian Sea, the problem of its decreasing water levels, the causes of mass deaths of seals and fish, and issues of preserving the population of the Caspian seal. The institute will closely interact with similar institutes in other Caspian states. The institute will provide objective and independent information about the ecosystem of the Caspian Sea, the ministry said, adding that its research data will serve as the basis for decision-making by state and local executive bodies concerning Caspian issues.

New vistas for trans-Caspian projects

BISHKEK (TCA) — The Caspian Sea is a promising area for cooperation between its littoral states — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan; but their cooperation in the transport and energy spheres is hindered by different geopolitical, and economic, interests of the regional states. We are republishing the following article on the issue, written by Stephen Blank*: Continue reading

Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan launch construction of fiber optic line on Caspian seabed

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin and Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov on November 19 attended the ceremony of launching the construction of the TransCaspian Fiber Optic in Aktau, Kazakhstan. The fiber-optic communication line between the two countries will be laid on the bottom of the Caspian Sea, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported. Continue reading

Russia moves to strengthen its profile in Central Asian gas politics, threatens Trans-Caspian

BISHKEK (TCA) — Russia has moved to increase its imports of natural gas from Central Asian countries with the purpose to increase its influence on the regional countries, and to prevent the construction of a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to deliver Turkmen gas to Europe. We are republishing the following article on the issue, written by Azad Garibov*: Continue reading

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