News Digest: Foreign Media on Kazakhstan’s Role as Middle Power, Trans-Caspian International Transport Route and More

ASTANA – The Astana Times has picked a selection of articles from global media outlets on news about Kazakhstan. This week’s foreign media digest covers Kazakhstan’s emergence as a middle power, the Middle Corridor, upcoming Nauryz Celebration, and more.

Astana Grand Mosque. Photo credit:Twitter/Aidos Ukibai

Kazakhstan prepares the return of Przewalski’s horse to the steppe

EFEcomunica published an article on March 1 reporting that several European zoos are taking part in a new international project to return the endangered Przewalski’s horses to their natural habitat in Kazakhstan.

According to Miroslav Bobek, director of the Prague Zoo, two Czech Air Force CASA C-295 aircraft with eight horses on board will leave Prague and Berlin on June 2 for the Kazakh city of Arkalyk in central Kazakhstan, from where the horses will be released on the steppe.

Kazakh association to celebrate Nauryz online news service released an announcement on March 6 made by Kazakhstan-Luxembourg Cooperation Asbl about the upcoming Welcome Spring celebration of the Nauryz – Spring equinox on March 30 in Luxembourg.

This year, the celebration will involve the Turkic Youth Ensemble from Budapest (Hungary), with those attending enjoying music from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and other nations. Additionally, they can taste Kazakh and other Central Asian dishes, including Nauryz Kozhe, which is prepared just once a year.

Kazakhstan’s emergence as a Middle Power and implications for Western relations

EU Reporter published an extensive opinion article on March 6 about Kazakhstan’s role as a middle power.  

A recent report by the German analytical center, Foundation for Science and Politics, has categorized Kazakhstan as a middle power – a nation with considerable influence in the global political and economic arena, yet less so than a major global power, – writes Genevieve Donnellon-May, Research Associate at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

“This is a stark contrast to a little over 30 years ago when the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and played an unassuming role in international relations. Kazakhstan’s ascent reflects how rapidly global politics have evolved over the past three decades,” the article reads.

In addition to the wider geopolitical context, the author writes about three main reasons why “Kazakhstan’s star is rising”: the country’s multi-vector foreign policy, production of rare earth metals and minerals, and its energy sector.

Kazakhstan and Russia to harness transit potential

The Times of Central Asia released an article on March 5 reporting on Kazakh Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov’s working visit to Moscow to attend a meeting with the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

“High on the agenda was the North-South international transport corridor and in particular, the section of railway interlinking Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran,” the article notes. 

Russia and Kazakhstan share the longest land border in the world spanning over 7,500 kilometers. Noting that “the most important transit routes in Eurasia run through our countries”, Mishustin highlighted the huge potential for cooperation in transport and logistics.

Unlocking the potential of the Middle Corridor: World Bank study presented at regional event in Tbilisi

On Feb. 27, a hybrid regional event hosted by the World Bank discussed a comprehensive study on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also known as the Middle Corridor, reported Georgia Today on Feb. 29.  

“The report provides an in-depth assessment of the expected demand for the Middle Corridor and offers a detailed diagnostic of the infrastructure, logistics services capacity and constraints in three countries along this route, which spans Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan,” the article reads.

The event, titled ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Middle Corridor’, served as a platform for collaborative discussion on improving the operational efficiency of the Middle Corridor and addressing existing bottlenecks.

Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan discuss increasing cargo transportation along Middle Corridor

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan discussed increasing cargo transportation along the Middle Corridor, reported Trend on March 5.

The Kazakh delegation, headed by the Minister of Transport Marat Karabayev, held talks with the Azerbaijani delegation led by the Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov.

According to Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry, the sides discussed expanding cooperation in the oil and gas sector, the possibility of participating in joint projects, increasing the volume of transit of Kazakh oil along various routes, and increasing cargo transportation along the Middle Corridor.

The parties agreed to take appropriate steps toward completing the construction of the Caspian underwater optical line connecting Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as part of the Digital Silk Road project. They also plan to prepare a technical specification document soon to begin a feasibility study of the project for the supply of electricity along the Central Asia-Europe route.

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