Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – From April 9 to April 15, 2022

Central Asia Watch Team : Aliya Yechshanova, Elisabeth Nagy, Mathieu Bailly et Denis Lavaud

04/09/2022: Political and economic reshuffle in Turkmenistan- Elisabeth Nagy-

On the 9th of April 2022, at his first National Security Council, new President Serdar Berdymukhamedov announced a reshuffle of some key positions in his government, and affirmed his willingness to strengthen economic and political ties with his partner countries. Indeed, following the visit of a Russian delegation to Turkmenistan on April 9, 2022, the Russian governor of the Chelyabinsk region offered to sell pipes for the construction of the Trans Afghan TAPI gas pipeline project, and to open an airline linking the region of Astrakhan in Russia to the Caspian port of the city of Turkmenbashy in Turkmenistan. 

Mr. Serdar Berdymukhamedov also mentioned the desire to perpetuate and strengthen the presence of American companies in the field of aviation, agriculture and banking in the country. However, Washington is in a complex position regarding Turkmenistan and the TAPI project. Indeed, the project would allow the United States to depend less on Russia for the transport of gas, but in return it would have to trade with the Taliban. The Turkmen President will have to place himself in a good position to be able to trade with both countries. 

Moreover, during his inauguration speech Serdar Berdymukhamedov expressed the wish to cooperate more extensively with the IMF, in a desire to open the country more to the world and to economic exchanges: “We are open to all the countries and peoples of the world and we aim to establish relations with them in the future in the fields of trade, economy, culture, humanitarian affairs, science and education“, said the new president.

As a result of this ascension to power, we are not expected to see much change in the economic and political sphere, which seems to be more of a continuation of the policies previously pursued by Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

04/11/2022: Shavkat Mirziyoyev encourages the private sector to work with public transport – Aliya Yechshanova – 

On April 8, Uzbek leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree that will make it possible to involve the private sector in the work of public transport of the republic. According to the document, by August 1 of this year, the country’s relevant ministries and departments, together with international financial institutions, should prepare proposals for the development of public transport in Tashkent on the basis of public-private partnerships. The legal and regulatory act also directs the Government of the Republic to develop and implement a programme for the development of public transport infrastructure in all administrative centers of Uzbekistan, based on the experience of the capital by 1 December 2022. In addition, the decree provides for the transformation and privatization of the company «Uzbek Railways». The document regulates and transfers to private operators of international air harbors of the capital and regions subordinated to the joint-stock company «Airports of Uzbekistan». This will make it possible to improve the operational efficiency and competitiveness of enterprises.

04/11/2022: Pope Francis’ first visit to Kazakhstan planned for september – Denis Lavaud –

On April 11, after a telephone conversation between Pope Francis and the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Vatican press service said that Pope Francis would take part in the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which will will be held next September, in Nur-Sultan.

«I look forward to this remarkable event from the point of view of enhancing interreligious dialogue, unity and rapprochement of states, things that are extremely important these days», said Pope Francis.

04/13/2022: Migrants from Tajikistan will be able to receive a Russian pension- Aliya Yechshanova-

On April 13, the Parliament of Tajikistan at its regular session ratified the agreement on pension provision for migrants, which was signed last September between Tajikistan and Russia. Now Tajik migrants working in Russia, officially registered for work and contributing money to the pension fund of Russia, will receive a pension from that country. Dilmurod Davlatzoda, the head of the Social Insurance and Pension Agency, who presented the agreement to the Parliament, said that it was developed by Russia in 2014-2015 and for many years was discussed and approved by the authorities. “During this period, seven rounds of talks were held between officials of the two countries and finally, last September, the point was set,” – said Davlatzoda. Under this agreement, Russian citizens who also work in Tajikistan and have social insurance will receive a pension from Tajikistan.

04/11/2022 : European Parliament’s delegation visited the Republic of Kazakhstan -Mathieu Bailly-

From Monday, April 11th to Wednesday, April 13th, Kazakhstan received a delegation from the European Union Parliament. This delegation included First Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament Delegation for Cooperation with Central Asia and Mongolia and Deputy Chairman of the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism Mr. Andris Ameriks, member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs Mr. Francisco Millan-Mon, as well as political advisers of several leading party groups in the European Parliament.

Present for the 19th meeting of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee “Republic of Kazakhstan – European Union”, the delegation discussed Kazakh-EU relations, as well as the event of January

04/13/2022:  The minister of foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan and his tadjik counterpart held a phone conversation – Denis Lavaud –

Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Minister ,Ruslan Kazakbayev, spoke by telephone with his Tajik counterpart, Sirodjidinn Mukhridin on April 13. The talk focused on Kyrgyz-Tajik cooperation as well as on regional security issues. The two parties discussed the organization of future meetings between the Kyrgyz and Tajik services in order to settle various issues relating to the two countries, and in order to expand cooperation. The two ministers said they shared the same vision on the necessity to continue joint confidence-building work on border issues between the two countries. Sirodjiddin Mukhridin and Ruslan Kazakbayev also discussed the fourth round of the upcoming consultative meetings of Central Asian Heads of State, as well as the conference «30 years of Central Asia – OSCE cooperation» scheduled in Bishkek.

The two parties concluded the meeting by promising a continued link at the highest level between the Kyrgyz and Tajik authorities.

04/13/2022: No military parade in Kazakhstan on May 9 – Denis Lavaud – 

The government of the Republic of Kazakhstan declared on April 13, via its press service, that it will not organize a military parade for the “Day of Victory” of May 9. The country had not organized a parade in 2020 and 2021 due to the health situation linked with the COVID-19 pandemic.

«We will not plan, in 2022, a parade dedicated to the 30 years of the Kazakh armed forces or to the celebration of the Victory Day of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945» declared the press service of the government, without specifying the reasons.

Nevertheless, it was announced that patriotic activities will be organized in all regions of the country, in which veterans of the Great Patriotic War as well as veterans of the Kazakh Armed Forces will participate.

04/14/2022 : Opening of a development fund between Kirghiz Republic and Republic of Uzbekistan – Mathieu Bailly-

On Thursday, April 14th, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Japarov and the Deputy Prime Minister Sardor Umurzakov agreed on a funding project between the Kirghiz Republic and the Republic of Uzbekistan, for a value of 50 million USD.

The main goal of this project would be to fund and attract commercial funding on the alimentary, industrial and logistics sectors. However, the project would aim in the future to impact other sectors such as textile, mining or even energy sectors.

One aspect also discussed was the construction of logistics centers at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. Those centers, along with the construction of highways and railways would help connect to the People’s Republic of China.

The development of a feasibility study for a highway connecting the city of Kyzyl-Kiya with the Irkeshtam checkpoint on the border with the People’s Republic of China has begun. It is also planned to build a logistics center there. Thus, the Kyrgyz Republic is ready to act as a transit bridge between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China” said Akylbek Zhaparov.

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