March 2012

Human Rights & Disarmament Should Be UN Priority, Kazakh FM Says in Geneva

The international community, with the UN at the forefront, should keep human rights and disarmament at the top of its agenda, while Kazakhstan stands ready to help in every way it can. Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov delivered this message as he spoke at the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council and the Disarmament Conference in Geneva on February 27 and 28.

Global Insights: U.S. Must Strengthen Ties With Azerbaijan

By Richard Weitz

This month marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the post-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, a country that is currently playing a vital role in sustaining NATO forces in Afghanistan, supporting Georgia and other U.S. friends in Eurasia, and helping to moderate Iranian and Russian ambitions in the energy-rich Caspian Basin region. But Washington needs to prioritize its ties with Baku to strengthen the partnership and to make sure that Azerbaijan and its fragile neighbors in the geopolitically vital South Caucasus region remain strong and stable.

What Ails Europe?

By Paul Krugman

Things are terrible here, as unemployment soars past 13 percent. Things are even worse in Greece, Ireland, and arguably in Spain, and Europe as a whole appears to be sliding back into recession.

Russia Completing Baltic Pipeline System Construction, Reducing Druzhba Pipeline Flow

By Vladimir Socor

Russia is set to start crude oil exports through the Baltic Pipeline System’s second trunkline, BPS-2, with its Ust-Luga maritime terminal at the Russian end of the Baltic Sea. The BPS-1 trunkline is already operating since 2009 with its Primorsk maritime terminal. The oil is shipped on tankers via the Baltic Sea and North Sea to European consumer countries along that route, with Rotterdam as a major final destination. 

Uzbekistan’s Quest for Oi Aral Seal May Weaken Kazakhstan’s Position in the Caspian

By Farkhad Sharip

As a part of its incessant attempts to consolidate its presence in the energy sector of Central Asia, on January 17, the board of executives of the Russian company, Lukoil, endorsed the purchase by its daughter company, Lukoil Overseas, of 6.6 percent of shares in transnational Aral Sea Operating Company. The Aral Sea Operating Company was set up in 2006 to explore and develop Uzbekistan’s oil and gas fields in the Aral Sea on a Product Sharing Agreement basis. With the additional acquisition, Russian shares in the transnational Aral project joined by Uzbekistan’s Uzneftegaz national holding, Chinese CNPC International, South Korean KNOC Aral and Russian Lukoil Company totals 26.6 percent. The 6.6 percent of shares purchased by Lukoil earlier belonged to Malaysian Petronas Company, which abandoned the project in 2011.