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China agrees to host meeting on Afghanistan peace between Taliban, Kabul government

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KABUL (TCA) — Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in a phone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on November 4 agreed to a meeting which will be held in Beijing and will include a Taliban delegation to discuss Afghanistan’s peace agreement, TOLOnews reported citing Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

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Record number of freight trains cross Kazakhstan-China border

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — At the end of October, 17 trains were exchanged on average per day, which is a record in the history of the border crossing between Kazakhstan and China at Dostyk and Alashankou rail stations, said the press service of KTZ-Freight transportation JSC, a subdivision of Kazakhstan’s national railways company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ).

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Central Asia: Women with HIV suffer from high level of violence, survey says

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Representatives of civil society and development organizations from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan gathered on November 4 in Bishkek to discuss the results of a survey on gender-based violence and barriers for support in regards to women living with HIV. The study, conducted by the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA), with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNFPA, showed a high level of violence against the respondents, UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic reported.

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Kazakhstan and China improve quality of bilateral cooperation

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The 9th meeting of the Committee on Cooperation between Kazakhstan and China was held in Beijing under the co-chairmanship of the First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov and Vice Premier of the State Council of China Han Zheng, the press service of the prime minister of Kazakhstan reported on November 4.

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Kazakhstan among countries with most deteriorating Internet freedoms — Freedom House

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan, Sudan, Brazil, and some other countries saw the worst deterioration in Internet freedoms over the past year, according to a new Freedom House report that also documented how governments increasingly use social media to monitor citizens and manipulate elections.

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Russia–Kazakhstan forum to discuss prospects for digital transformation

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The 16th Russia–Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum focusing on Topical Issues Related to the Development of Cross-Border Cooperation will take place in Omsk, Russia on November 6–7.

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EDB to finance wind farm construction in Kazakhstan

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and Ereymentau Wind Power, a company of the Samruk-Energy holding company, have signed a KZT 23.2 billion loan agreement to finance the construction of a 50 MW wind farm near the town of Ereymentau in Kazakhstan.

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FAO, SCO strengthen partnership on food security, sustainable development

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 2 agreed to boost joint efforts aimed at providing food security and sustainable development for present and future generations, in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, FAO reported on its website.

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Kazakhstan PM suggests initiatives for SCO economic cooperation development

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TASHKENT (TCA) — During his visit to Tashkent on November 2, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Askar Mamin attended the 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, at which he put forward a number of initiatives to strengthen practical cooperation of the organization’s member countries in trade, economic, investment, digital, transport and other fields, the Kazakh prime minister’s press service reported.

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Weekly Digest of Central Asia

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.

KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan Remains Nazarbayev’s State

Nazarbayev retained significant levers on power after formally resigning in a surprise announcement in March

Oct 29 — “On October 8, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev criticized the development and design of Nur-Sultan. The next day, Tokayev approved changes to the country’s high-level personnel policies, which open the door for Nursultan Nazrabayev — officially still “First President,” Elbasy(Leader of the Nation), and lifetime chairman of the National Security Council — to exert influence over key government appointments.” READ MORE: https://thediplomat.com/2019/10/kazakhstan-remains-nazarbayevs-state/

Kazakhstan’s president courts green support by halting ski resort

The rare victory for Kazakh environmentalists arrived with a dose of political intrigue

Oct 29 — “Environmentalists in Kazakhstan have scored a rare victory by pressuring the authorities into freezing a ski resort project that has been decried as an ecological disaster-in-waiting. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on October 28 that he had grown weary with the years of controversy that have turned Kok-Zhaylau into one of the nation’s more insoluble boondoggles.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kazakhstans-president-courts-green-support-by-halting-ski-resort

Half China’s investment in Kazakhstan is in oil and gas

Joint Kazakh-Chinese projects worth $27.6 billion are heavily skewed toward fossil fuels and extractives

Oct 29 — “The Kazakhstan government has finally published a list of the 55 projects its neighbour China has invested in. About half of the investment total of US$27.6 billion is in oil and gas projects. An itemised list of the projects and their cost has been made available in Kazakh and Russian. Only a summary is available in English. Rather than try and compete with China in producing goods, the Kazakh government has focused on industrial cooperation as the best means to develop its economy.” READ MORE: https://chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11613-Half-China-s-investment-in-Kazakhstan-is-in-oil-and-gas

The Future of Kazakhstan: Atom for Peace or Wind and Solar Power?

Why Kazakhstan needs nuclear power plant if the country has a developed strategy on development of renewable energy sources that can replace coal power plants?

Oct 31 — ““By 2030, Kazakhstan will face electricity deficit,” the president of Kazakhstan commented the news of possible construction of the nuclear power plant this April. In fact, this is quite a generalised statement. Those people who claim that Kazakhstan has a surplus of power are right. But they are right by halves. The power system of Kazakhstan is divided into service areas – Southern, Northern and Western. The Northern and Western service areas have too much power, whereas the Southern area rather lacks power.” READ MORE: https://cabar.asia/en/the-future-of-kazakhstan-atom-for-peace-or-wind-and-solar-power/

KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan Eradicates Statelessness, Challenges Remain

A Kyrgyzstani lawyer won a prestigious UN award for his contributions to combating statelessness in his country, but will his efforts stick?

Oct 31 — “Five years ago, in November 2014, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched a campaign to end statelessness in a decade. Halfway through the 10-year campaign, UNHCR is celebrating a major milestone: This July, Kyrgyzstan became the first country in the world to eradicate statelessness.” READ MORE: https://thediplomat.com/2019/10/kyrgyzstan-eradicates-statelessness-challenges-remain/

Kyrgyzstan’s farming puzzle: A rich nation reliant on others

Agriculture accounts for 15 percent of the Kyrgyz economy. Yet the lack of coordination means many farmers are barely able to survive, let alone export anything

Oct 31 — “Gulmayram Tologonova’s farm lost three cows to disease last year. A tough blow for a small-time rancher. And yet, nothing exceptional for Kyrgyzstan, where almost all farms operate on a miniscule scale and where authorities are often unable to give a helping hand. The government’s critics complain that the lack of broad strategic vision for agriculture is leaving rural communities at the mercy of such calamities.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstans-farming-puzzle-a-rich-nation-reliant-on-others

I went to Kyrgyzstan for a holiday and found out why some call it the Switzerland of Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan still remains an enigma to most western and east Asian people

Nov 1 — “I perched myself precariously over a few wooden planks, with a hole cut in the middle, trying to do a number two. A misstep, and I might drop in an abyss of human excrement. I say abyss because I really have no idea (and also have no wish to find out) the number of people who have emptied their bowels into the literal s***hole metres below me. What made this whole experience extra dicey, was the fact that I had to do my business in total darkness.” READ MORE: https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/i-went-kyrgyzstan-holiday-and-found-out-why-some-call-it-switzerland-central-asia

TAJIKISTAN

Tajikistan's crackdown on free press must end

Freedom of the press and independence of the media is what Tajikistan lacks today

Oct 30 — “In Tajikistan, President Emomali Rahmon's formal title includes "founder of peace and national unity, the leader of the nation." He has felt free to install members of his extended family in top jobs but appears nervous about the population finding out about it. In 2016, he revoked the credentials of Radio Ozodi, the Tajik service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, for reporting that the president's daughter was given a post in the foreign ministry. The ministry had posted the news on its own website, but the president apparently was discomfited when it appeared on a popular news site.” READ MORE: https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/opinion/article/Tajikistan-s-crackdown-on-free-press-must-end-14585001.php

Tajikistan approves Chinese $360 million grant for highways

Chinese gifts for Tajikistan do not come without strings attached, however

Oct 30 — “Parliament in Tajikistan considers China-related business almost every week these days. On October 30, lawmakers ratified an agreement approving a grant from China worth $360 million. The funds have been earmarked to upgrade a highway from Kulob to Bokhtar and reconstruction of part of a lengthy, cross-country stretch of road linking Dushanbe to Kulma, which lies on the Chinese border.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-approves-chinese-360-million-grant-for-highways

Tajikistan renews accreditation for some RFE/RL journalists, not leadership

The phrase “accreditation filter” has been a common term of art among the embattled Tajik reporter community

Oct 31 — “Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry on October 31 renewed the accreditation of seven employees of RFE/RL’s Tajik service, but many others remain without the crucial document needed to report inside the country. The issuance of paperwork represents a slim, 11th-hour reprieve, although key personnel at Radio Ozodi, as Tajik service is known, are still in limbo, a fact that may generate uncertainty over the broadcaster’s future in Tajikistan.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-renews-accreditation-for-some-rferl-journalists-not-leadership

TURKMENISTAN

Here's what it's like inside Turkmenistan, the secretive Asian dictatorship that is stricter than North Korea, where the streets are paved with marble and gold

While not much information leaks out of the country, we do know a little bit about it. Take a look at all we know about Turkmenistan below

Oct 27 — “The central Asian nation of Turkmenistan is one of the world's most secretive and mysterious countries. Information from the central Asian country is tightly controlled and few people enter, while its human rights record is decried, and it has virtually no free press. But its president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is keen to present the country — and himself — as strong.” READ MORE: https://www.insider.com/turkmenistan-what-life-is-like-inside-secretive-dictatorship-2019-10

Turkmenistan: Europe or bust

In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week

Oct 29 — “The trans-Afghan pipeline project continues to be an object of intense focus, and not necessarily in good ways. At an October 26 Cabinet meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov droned in generalities about the importance of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India route, describing it once more as a force for regional peace and economic prosperity.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/turkmenistan-europe-or-bust

A Turkmen Doctor Came Out And Now He (And His Family) Have Gone Missing

The Prove They Are Alive campaign has already documented 121 cases of people who were imprisoned in Turkmenistan and never heard from again

Oct 31 — “A young man in Turkmenistan who detailed his tormented life being gay in a conservative country has vanished along with his family after going to a police station where he had been summoned. Twenty-four-year-old Kasymberdy Garayev -- whose mother and father and siblings have also disappeared -- worked as a cardiologist at a prestigious clinic in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/gay-turkmen-doctor-family-vanish-after-he-comes-out-details-tormented-life/30246642.html

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan plans to fine people for excessive partying

New Uzbek bill proposes crackdown on 'disruptive' weddings and funerals

Oct 28 — “Raucous parties could be banned in Uzbekistan under new laws proposed by the country’s Ministry of Justice. Fines of about £180 will reportedly be issued in a crackdown on “disruptive weddings, family celebrations, campaigns and ceremonies”. It follows a series of attempts to limit lavish festivities in a country where 11.4 per cent of the population live below the poverty line and the average monthly wage is around £155.” READ MORE: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/uzbekistan-law-fines-weddings-parties-funerals-a9173576.html

Alarm as demolitions make way for new-look Uzbekistan

Residents say they are sidelined in talks over regeneration projects as officials pursue drive to modernise the country

Oct 31 — “Located over 80 hectares (198 acres) of land in the centre of Uzbekistan's capital, "Tashkent City", a state-led flagship project, marks a new beginning in the country's history. It includes a sky-high, glass-clad Hilton hotel, manicured green lawns leading to an enormous fountain, and artificial trees shaped into a veritable menagerie of animals.” READ MORE: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/alarm-demolitions-uzbekistan-191030192526427.html

Uzbekistan befuddled by Eurasian Economic Union tug of war

There is a heated debate about Uzbekistan’s potential entry into the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union

Nov 1 — “A surprising candidate waded last month into the long-running debate about whether or not Uzbekistan should join a Russia-dominated Eurasian Economic Union trading bloc. Addressing an event in Washington held by the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sounded cool on the idea, arguing that it could derail Tashkent’s plans to integrate with the wider global economy.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/uzbekistan-befuddled-by-eurasian-economic-union-tug-of-war

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan’s Last Jew Gets Ready for the Taliban—Again

Zabulon Simentov has seen it all, and now, like all Afghans, he must embrace a future filled with uncertainty and violence

Oct 29 — “It’s Saturday, and Zabulon Simentov is sitting on a typical Afghan cushion in his small living room watching the news. When the anchor starts to talk about peace talks with the Taliban, Simentov shakes his head, muttering something incomprehensible. Normally, Simentov would offer tea to his guest, but not today. It’s Shabbat. For that reason, Simentov—who is believed to be Afghanistan’s last remaining Jew—must not use his old gas cooker. Of the switched-on television, Simentov says that someone else, a non-Jewish person, turned it on for him. Orthodox Jews would probably disagree with such a practice—observant Jews are not supposed to watch TV at all on Shabbat—but Simentov’s life has been all about defiance of tradition.” READ MORE: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/29/afghanistan-last-jew-simentov-taliban-return/

To End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. Reaches Out to Its Rivals

The prospects of a U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan has compelled both China and Russia to take a more active role in the peace negotiations

Oct 30 — “As the United States searches for an exit from Afghanistan, its outreach to China and Russia points to its rivals' growing influence in shaping the endgame to its longest-ever conflict. On Oct. 25, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Moscow to discuss reviving the Afghan peace process with Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials. China is also expected to host Taliban and Afghan government officials for talks next month.” READ MORE: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/end-war-afghanistan-us-reaches-out-its-rivals

Afghanistan: CIA-Backed Forces Commit Atrocities

Human Rights Watch urges to disband all irregular paramilitary forces in Afghanistan and cooperate with independent investigations

Oct 31 — “United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed Afghan forces have committed summary executions and other grave abuses without accountability, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. These strike forces have unlawfully killed civilians during night raids, forcibly disappeared detainees, and attacked healthcare facilities for allegedly treating insurgent fighters. Civilian casualties from these raids and air operations have dramatically increased in the last two years.” READ MORE: https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/31/afghanistan-cia-backed-forces-commit-atrocities

WORLD

China’s complicated relationship with Central Asia

Central Asians have watched as Chinese money, workers and influence have shaped the regional economic geography with the open support of local authorities

Oct 30 — “The closure of a mine in Kyrgyzstan, protests on the streets in Kazakhstan. The grand guignol of menacing Chinese investment into Central Asia appears to be rearing its head in public discourse. Both fearful and grateful, the region is a paradox for China at the beginning of its Belt and Road. Hardly a week goes by without a senior Chinese visitor appearing somewhere in Central Asia, revealing a long-term influence game that Beijing is winning.” READ MORE: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2019/10/30/chinas-complicated-relationship-with-central-asia/

Event | Africa’s experience with Chinese investors. Some parallels with Central Asia

Africa was Beijing’s small-scale testing ground for what’s now being called the Belt and Road Initiative

Oct 31 — “Poorly governed, resource-rich countries with exploding populations that are hungry for investment: Africa and Central Asia have much in common. Both are also aggressively courted by Chinese investors, these days under the catch-all Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI. Africa got a head start, however, and could offer some lessons for Central Asia, said Cobus van Staden of the South African Institute of International Affairs, during a recent presentation at Harvard University.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/event-africas-experience-with-chinese-investors-some-parallels-with-central-asia

US builds outpost for Tajikistan’s border forces on Tajik-Afghan border

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — United States Chargé d’Affaires John Ginkel and Colonel Shohiyon Abdusattor, Deputy Commander of Tajikistan’s Border Guard Forces, on November 1 participated in the opening ceremony for the Okultun border outpost, constructed for the Border Forces under the State Committee of National Security of Tajikistan. The cost of the construction project was funded and implemented by the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan’s Office of Military Cooperation, with a cost of $900,000.

The border outpost provides the Border Forces with increased capacity to consistently monitor and patrol the border with Afghanistan in the Shahritus region of Khatlon province. The facility will significantly increase the Border Forces’ ability to monitor and interdict illegal border crossings across a 15-20 kilometer range, and counter transnational threats such as narco-traffickers, smugglers, and violent extremists.

The U.S. Embassy has supported the construction and renovation of 9 border outposts and 2 detachments along the Tajik-Afghan border with the goal of strengthening Tajikistan’s border security. The U.S. government has provided more than $100 million in assistance to strengthen Tajikistan’s border security since 2005.

The United States remains committed to partnering with Tajikistan in support of its sovereignty, security, and its role in regional stability. These efforts support the positive role that Central Asian states will play in securing long-term peace and prosperity in Afghanistan through political support, economic connectivity, and counterterrorism, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe said.

The United States has partnered with Tajikistan for 27 years and has provided more than $1.8 billion in development and assistance through programs that support Tajikistan’s private sector, agriculture, health, education, democratic institutions, and security.

EU, UN and Netherlands support social reintegration of prisoners in Kazakhstan

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KARAGANDY, Kazakhstan (TCA) — Social reintegration of prisoners after release was in the spotlight of the high-level delegation visit from the EU, the UN and the Netherlands. The delegation visited two pilot male and female prison facilities in Kazakhstan’s Karagandy region within the framework of the programme “Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons”. The preliminary findings of the visit were presented on November 1 during the expert meeting hosted by the Akimat (administration) of Karagandy region, the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported.

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Kyrgyzstan: Jailed son of former PM transferred to penal settlement

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Altynbek Muraliev, the jailed son of a former Kyrgyz prime minister, has been transferred to a more lenient penal colony where convicts live close to their work facilities, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

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Chinese premier calls for closer China-Uzbekistan ties, better SCO cooperation

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on October 31 called for commitment to openness in promoting cooperation with Uzbekistan as well as other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Xinhua news agency reported.

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Kyrgyzstan parliament urged to reject amendments to trade union law that threaten workers’ rights

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Human Rights Watch said on October 31 that draft amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s trade union law would severely inhibit independent trade union organizing and violate international labor treaties to which Kyrgyzstan is a party. Parliament should reject the amendments when they are presented for a third reading, the rights watchdog said in a statement.

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Israel’s Watergen to help Uzbekistan fight water shortage

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The government of Uzbekistan has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israel-based company Watergen in an effort aimed at harnessing and using the company’s patented technology to make pure, clean-drinking water out of ambient air. The agreement was signed on October 29 by Uzbekistan’s Minister of Innovation, Mr. Ibrohim Abdurakhmonov and Watergen’s Vice-President of marketing and sales, Mr. Michael Rutman, the Israeli company said.

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Kazakhstan prime minister visits Netherlands, attends Kazakh-Dutch business forum

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — As part of his official visit to The Hague on October 30, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and attended the opening of the Kazakhstan–Netherlands Business Forum.

During the meeting with Mark Rutte, prospects for further development of trade, economic and investment cooperation, interaction in the energy, financial, transport and logistics, agricultural, IT and scientific fields were discussed, the press service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

The Netherlands is one of the key trade, economic and investment partners of Kazakhstan in Europe. Over the years of independence, the gross inflow of direct investment from the Netherlands to Kazakhstan exceeded $92 billion. Over 900 enterprises with the participation of Dutch capital operate in Kazakhstan. At the end of 2018, bilateral trade amounted to $6.5 billion.

Mark Rutte expressed his confidence that the official visit of the prime minister of Kazakhstan to the Netherlands would give a significant impetus to the further development of bilateral cooperation.

The prime ministers of Kazakhstan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands attended the opening of the V Kazakhstan-Netherlands Business Forum, in which five documents were signed in the presence of the heads of government of the two countries:

- an agreement between the Kazakh company K-Agro and the Dutch Farm Frites on the creation of a joint venture for the production of French fries in the Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan. The project is worth $145 million;

- an agreement between JSC NC Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary and the NEASCO group of companies on cooperation on the implementation of projects on Earth remote sensing and geographic information systems;

- a memorandum between the Kazakh National Agrarian University and the University of Wacheningen on cooperation in training Kazakhstani agricultural students. Wacheningen University is one of the world's leading centers in the field of natural sciences, natural resource management, crop production and livestock raising;

- a memorandum between JSC Housing and Utilities Center and Witteven + Bos on mutual understanding on the implementation of the program on the construction and reconstruction of sewage treatment facilities;

- a memorandum between Dal Agro Park and Dutch Greenhouse Delta on cooperation on the construction of an agricultural park in Kazakhstan’s Turkistan region on 200 hectares.

The forum was attended by about 200 representatives of Kazakh and Dutch business. The forum participants held working meetings and negotiations with potential partners in business-to-business format.

The Kazakh prime minister met with representatives of the Dutch companies Shell, Bitfury, SuezGroup, Farm Frites, Dutch Fruit Solutions to discuss prospects for implementing projects in Kazakhstan in the fields of energy, data processing and blockchain technology, education, and agricultural processing.

Central Asia: US strengthens regional cooperation toward common electricity market

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supported a two-day regionwide workshop on the Concept and Prospects for a Central Asia Regional Electricity Market (CAREM). Power sector representatives from all five Central Asian countries attended the conference and shared their nation’s experiences on recent developments and current priorities in their respective power sectors. International experts presented best practices of electricity markets successfully implemented in other regions, the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan said on October 30.

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Turkmenistan: OSCE promotes development of green ports, connectivity in Caspian region

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TURKMENBASHI, Turkmenistan (TCA) — Two OSCE-supported events launched activities in Turkmenistan aimed at promoting green ports and connectivity in the Caspian Sea region. A roundtable discussion for experts on 29 October took place in Ashgabat and a technical workshop was held on 30 October at the Turkmenbashi International Seaport, the OSCE reported.

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OSCE supports Central Asian Dialogue on reduction of prison population, development of probation

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The II Central Asian Dialogue on reduction of prison population and development of probation is taking place from 28 to 31 October in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event was co-organized by the OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan, the Penal Reform International Office in Central Asia, the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Asia Group, the British Embassy in Kazakhstan, the Prison Committees of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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EBRD opens second office in Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is expanding its regional presence in Central Asia’s most populated region by opening an office in Andijan, one of the largest municipalities in east Uzbekistan, the Bank said on October 30.

Located in the Fergana Valley, Andijan is one of the oldest cities in the region, where the Mughal dynasty hails from and which played an important role in the Silk Road trade. The Fergana Valley is the most densely populated part of Central Asia with almost 14 million inhabitants – almost 20 per cent of the region’s population – spread across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The EBRD is opening an office in this region recognising the area’s significant potential. The Andijan office will mainly be supporting local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through expert advice, training and a variety of financial tools.

It will be building on the success of the EBRD’s business advisory program, funded by the European Union and the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (with contributions from Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA), which has already delivered almost 70 advisory projects for Uzbek SMEs.

Following the adoption of a new country strategy for Uzbekistan, in 2018 the EBRD signed 12 projects worth almost €400 million, a record level of business for the Bank in the country in a single year. Significant investments were made in the municipal and power infrastructure sectors, including the rehabilitation of water and wastewater infrastructure in the Fergana Valley, as well as in banking and industry. This year, the EBRD has already invested almost €250 million into the Uzbek economy.

To date, the EBRD has invested €1.3 billion through 70 projects in the economy of Uzbekistan. Support of small businesses is particularly important as the country moves to reform its economy and strengthen its private sector.

Kyrgyzstan: Atambayev's former aide sentenced to 7 years in prison

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Ikramjan Ilmiyanov, a former close associate of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

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Turkmenistan and Italy to hold business forum in Milan

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — A Turkmen–Italian business forum is to be held in Milan on November 6. The meeting of business circles of the two countries will be timed to an official visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to Italy. It was announced at the session of the Turkmen Government on October 26, the State News Agency of Turkmenistan reported.

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Kazakhstan: Capacity of renewable energy facilities doubled in 2019

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Kazakh Government session on October 29, chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, reviewed the development of renewable energy sources in Kazakhstan, the prime minister’s press service reported.

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Kyrgyzstan: US supports Karakhanid-era mausoleum roof restoration in Uzgen

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, with representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan, Government in Osh province, and Sulayman-Too National Historical and Archeological Museum Complex on October 29 presented the completed conservation of a twelfth century Karakhanid mausoleum roof in Uzgen.

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