By Erik Davtyan
July 12th, the CACI Analyst
On June 20, the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan – Serzh Sargsyan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev – met in Saint Petersburg. After the unprecedented military escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April, the first meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents took place in Vienna on May 16. Putin’s initiative to convene the second meeting indicates the active mediation role that Russia has taken in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since the escalation. In April, Russian high officials paid several visits both to Yerevan and Baku to discuss the recent developments with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaderships. In Saint Petersburg, Sargsyan and Aliyev agreed to increase the number of international observers. The parties also welcomed the fact that the ceasefire regime has generally been upheld in recent months. The presidents also decided to continue similar regular meetings in the future.
By Eka Janashia
July 10th, the CACI Analyst
At a June 20 meeting in Luxembourg, the EU’s foreign ministers again acknowledged Georgia’s eligibility for visa-free travel in the Schengen area for a short-stay. However, the country’s much-awaited exemption from visa requirements remains obscure.
At the end of last year, the European Commission (EC) issued the “Fourth progress report on Georgia’s implementation of the action plan on visa liberalization,” endorsing the country’s success in conducting legislative and policy reforms and praising its diligence in meeting institutional and organizational principles and procedures in line with European and international standards.
By Aigul Kasymova
July 5th, the CACI Analyst
According to the 2015 Afghanistan Opium Survey, prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has decreased by 19 percent compared to 2014. Production also dropped by an estimated 48 percent from 2014 and is recorded to be the lowest since the Taliban’s 2001 opium ban. Despite this drop, Afghanistan continues to be the largest producer of illicit opium and heroin in the world. It is estimated that 80 percent of global illicit opiates derives from Afghanistan. The immediate and long-term consequences of this production continue to create challenges for the country, its people and hopes for sustainable development.
By Almaz Rza
June 8th, the CACI Analyst
“Greetings! I am out of prison! Thank you all for your support! I am strong and full of energy. I will continue my work as a journalist,” Khadija Ismayilova posted on her Facebook page right after she was released from custody. On May 25, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court ordered the investigative journalist released after changing her prison term from 7 1/2 years in custody to a suspended term of 3 1/2 years.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.