Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia to set up joint Middle Corridor railway venture

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Azerbaijan Railways and Georgian Railway will sign an agreement on key principles of the establishment and functioning of a joint venture to develop the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor.

This was announced by the Kazakh government's press service on Thursday (22 June) after a meeting between their prime ministers, Alikhan Smailov and Ali Asadov, in Baku.

patrickn97 Fri, 06/23/2023 - 07:46
Editor's choice
Georgian President Zourabichvili pardons Nika Gvaramia

Georgian President Zourabichvili pardons Nika Gvaramia

The Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Thursday (22 June) pardoned Nika Gvaramia, the head of the pro-opposition TV channel Mtavari who had been convicted in a Tbilisi court for allegedly embezzling money as the director of another TV company, Rustavi 2.  His imprisonment had widely been seen as politically motivated, with the EU and the US having previously expressed concern over his sentence.  President Zourabichvili had recently come under increasing pressure from opposition groups and civil society to pardon Gvaramia, as she possesses the right to do so as President. Announcing her decision on Thursday evening, President Zourabichvili declined to comment further on her reasons for issuing a pardon while also "aiming a thinly-veiled barb at those attempting to influence her", according to OC Media. "I just want to remind you of what I also said in Brussels, that such a decision, the discretionary right of the president, is not subject to anyone’s pressure, advice, recommendation or any other type of threat […] this is the president’s decision", President Zourabichvili said. "I made this decision after all legal steps were exhausted on 19 June, when the Supreme Court did not accept the cassation appeal. I am not going to give any explanation for this decision, because it is my discretionary right that I use today."
Editor's choice
Editorial: Baku and Stepanakert need to talk; now is the time for Azerbaijan to show magnanimity and generosity

Editorial: Baku and Stepanakert need to talk; now is the time for Azerbaijan to show magnanimity and generosity

"The question that remains unanswered is if there are Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh who are determined enough not to want to live in an Azerbaijani state that they will resist violently. Such thinking may exist, probably only amongst marginal groups, but nothing will come out of it unless it is abetted by the Government of Armenia, and/or by Russia, or in a less tangible way by radical groups within the Armenian diaspora. The latter can provide some money and possibly some human resources, but do not have the logistical capacity necessary for anything more than isolated incidents," writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. "Whilst a detailed future vision for Karabakh may have to wait until the negotiations are more advanced, now is the time for Baku to send positive signals. By tightening the noose around Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijan has forced the issue, so time is no longer on its side." 
Opinion: the Italian government must re-evaluate its stance on contraception for women

"Even if the government is indeed being sincere in their desire to protect the rights of unborn children by restricting access to contraception, by their own admission low birth rates in Italy persist," writes Arianna Belluardo in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "Meanwhile, evidence thus far shows that improving access to contraception would not depress birth rates, but contrarily, reduce the rate of practised abortions, which remain in some cases physically and emotionally draining for women.

patrickn97 Thu, 06/22/2023 - 10:48
UK pledges $3bn for Ukraine reconstruction ahead of the International Ukraine Recovery Conference

The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced $3bn of funding over the next three years for Ukraine's reconstruction on Tuesday (20 June).

The announcement came one day before the International Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 taking place in London on Wednesday and Thursday (21-22 June). The total cost of Ukraine's post-war reconstruction is understood to be approximately $411bn, although this figure will increase as Russia's invasion and occupation continues.

patrickn97 Wed, 06/21/2023 - 09:57
German President Steinmeier visits Kazakhstan, holds talks with Kazakh President Tokayev
The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has held talks with the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during an official visit to Kazakhstan on 20 June. President Tokayev said that Frank-Walter Steinmeier's state visit "opens up good opportunities for further strengthening of comprehensive cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany", according to an official read-out from the Presidential Administration.  "We have been anticipating your visit, which is regarded as a very important one in terms of giving additional boost to the development of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany. Germany is considered here in Kazakhstan as a key partner in Europe. And we will be doing our utmost in order to enhance our cooperation in a variety of domains," said President Tokayev. On his part, President Steinmeier said that Germany is "not only looking back to the past 30 years of diplomatic relations, we are looking to the presence of our especially but not only economic growing relations, you are mentioning that many German companies are heavily invested in the meanwhile, here in Kazakhstan, and, you know, beyond economic relations."
patrickn97 Wed, 06/21/2023 - 09:34
Editorial: the European Union’s footprint in the Gulf remains faded

This editorial was first published in our newsletter Arabia Concise. If you would like to subscribe to Arabia Concise, or any other of our newsletter, please click here.

patrickn97 Tue, 06/20/2023 - 12:55