Stories related to telecommunications and transport links. 

First Astana International Forum taking place in Kazakhstan on 8-9 June
The first Astana International Forum (AIF) is taking place in Kazakhstan on Thursday and Friday (8-9 June). An initiative of the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Astana International Forum writes that it will "serve as a platform for high-level delegates from foreign governments, international organizations, businesses and academic circles to engage in dialogue and seek solutions to problems such as climate change, food shortages and energy security". Over 1,000 people will participate in the conference, which is running under the theme "Tackling Challenges Through Dialogue: Towards Cooperation, Development & Progress". There will be several keynote speeches and over 40 panel sessions, discussions, and side events. The decline of Russia in Central Asia as a result of its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine has propelled the region into a new geopolitical reality. Especially on trade, difficulties trading via Russia as a result of sanctions have given Central Asia a renewed, critical position in facilitating east-west trade. To that end, Central Asian connectivity is also high on the agenda at the AIF.
patrickn97 Thu, 06/08/2023 - 11:37 Editorial: China moves in where angels fear to tread
It seems as if you cannot be respected as a superpower unless you burn your fingers trying to pacify Afghanistan, writes in this editorial. The British in the heyday of the Raj, tried it in the 19th century; the Soviets tried it at the peak of their power in the 20th century, and the Americans had a go at a time when they were the only superpower, in the early 21st century. Now it seems it's China’s turn, and of course it is being done the Chinese way. There are no armies swarming across the Khyber Pass, nor forward military bases established across Central Asia. Instead, the Chinese are using their time tested tool – the Belt and Road Initiative. The first announcement came on 8 May following the 4th round of the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad with the participation of Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. In essence, the two sides agreed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, will be extended into Afghanistan. At that meeting it was also agreed that both sides will “continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan”.
patrickn97 Tue, 05/30/2023 - 12:44

Filter archive

Azerbaijan, Hungary, Romania, and Georgia agree on project for a new electricity cable under the Black Sea

On Saturday (17 December) at a meeting in Bucharest, the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary signed an agreement to construct a new underwater electric cable through the Black Sea, connecting the South Caucasus region to the European Union. The cable will provide Europe with Azerbaijani energy. 

Maximiliaan va… Sun, 12/18/2022 - 00:30
Editor's choice
EU seeks new enhanced partnership agreement with Tajikistan as it pursues a more assertive role in Central Asia

EU seeks new enhanced partnership agreement with Tajikistan as it pursues a more assertive role in Central Asia

The Council of the European Union on 8 December adopted guidelines for the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with Tajikistan. Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It has an area of 143,100 km2 and an estimated population of 9,749,625 people. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Like other Central Asian republics, Tajikistan is currently seeking to diversify its international relations, including by strengthening its relations with the European Union. A statement posted on the website of the Council of the European Union said that the EU is determined to deepen its relations with the Central Asian countries, even more so in the current geopolitical environment. The negotiation of an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Tajikistan will be a significant step forward in this regard. It will provide a platform for improved political cooperation, trade and investment between the EU and Tajikistan, incentivising and supporting reforms. Progress in these negotiations will also depend on tangible improvements in Tajikistan’s human rights situation, including with regard to the freedom of expression, media and assembly.
New undersea hydrogen pipeline between Spain and France to be ready 'by 2030'
The leaders of France, Portugal and Spain announced on Friday (9 December) that the undersea pipeline between Barcelona and Marseille, expected to be completed by 2030, will transport exclusively hydrogen. Also present at the meeting in Alicante, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the H2Med project "goes in the right direction" as it "has the potential to help us build a real European hydrogen backbone." "We will produce ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030 and we plan to import in addition another 10 million tonnes. Hydrogen will have to reach our industry. This is why we also identified a series of strategic corridors including one crossing Europe from West to East, via the Iberian Peninsula." "This is why today I warmly welcome this agreement between France, Spain and Portugal", Von der Leyen said.
Maximiliaan va… Sat, 12/10/2022 - 16:47
‘No timeline’ for restoring internet to Tigray: Ethiopia minister

The Associated Press reported that a senior Ethiopian government official claimed that there is no timeline for restoring internet access to the Tigray Region, despite claims from the government in November that it would restore basic services.

patrickn97 Thu, 12/01/2022 - 07:28
Editor's choice
EU and Kazakhstan strengthen their strategic partnership with the signing of agreement on raw materials

EU and Kazakhstan strengthen their strategic partnership with the signing of agreement on raw materials

The European Union (EU) and Kazakhstan have strengthen their strategic partnership by signing an agreement on raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen on Monday (7 November) at a ceremony on the margins of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), which kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The agreement focuses on the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials and refined materials, renewable hydrogen and battery value chains, and contributes to the green and digital transformation, reported the press service of the European Commission.  Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, who is representing Kazakhstan at the COP27, said that the document will create conditions for the establishment of financial and technological cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU industrial alliances. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted the partnership will build a cleaner foundation for both economies.
Monday Commentary: Why Central Asia matters
Very often, Central Asia is referred to as Russia’s back yard, even though today the region feels more like China’s front garden. But whilst the two “inseparable” friends, compete for influence and resources, the five Central Asian countries have set on a course to integrate themselves in global processes, break out of their geographic - and more importantly their geo-political constraints - and deliver better for their people. In this week's Monday Commentary on, Dennis Sammut says that the Central Asian states have been reaching out to the EU and the US, whilst domestically some of them have embarked on deep reforms considered all but unimaginable until recently. The visit of European Council president Charles Michel to the region on 27-28 October marked a high point in a new phase in the relationship between the EU and Central Asia. In Kazakhstan, Michel not only met the Kazakh leadership, but also held a summit with the five Central Asian leaders in Astana, before travelling to Uzbekistan. For both the Central Asians and for the EU this is a watershed moment, and the beginning of a long journey. Europe’s approach to Central Asia needs to be respectful, both to the five countries themselves, and to their existing partners. Arrogance, even of the intellectual kind will simply backfire. But respect does not mean meekness. As a heavyweight in international relations, even if for the moment its economic weight dwarfs its political weight, the EU needs to approach Central Asia neither as a supplicant, nor as a benefactor, but simply as a reliable partner. Furthermore, this partnership needs to be diverse, multi-tiered and nuanced. It must take in relations with citizens, where Europe has much to offer both in terms of being a model, but also in terms of what it can share in areas such as education, innovation, youth welfare, women’s rights and diversity.
dennis2020 Mon, 10/31/2022 - 07:35
Michel in Tashkent to cement EU-Uzbekistan ties

European Council president, Charles Michel was in Tashkent on Friday (28 October) for talks with Uzbek president Mirziyoyev.

Once considered a parriah in the international system because of gross human rights abuses, Uzbekistan has in recent years adopted a trajectory for reform, and of opening up to the world. Good relations with the EU are now an important pillar of Uzbek foreign policy.

For the EU too relations with Uzbekistan are increasingly important given the Union's strategy towards Central Asia.

dennis2020 Sat, 10/29/2022 - 09:36