Rail links from Europe to China in development

A report from Dutch bank Rabobank has extolled the possibilities in boosting trade between Europe and China via overland rail link going through Central Asia. The rail networks connections would be collectively known as the Yu-Xin-Ou Railway, and the Radobank report notes that the demand for European fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat would drive trade…

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Iran invited to participate in Syria talks for the first time

The U.S. and its allies have invited Iran to participate in international talks over Syria’s future, potentially indicating a shift in its strategy related to the Iranian nuclear program. The next talks are planned for Thursday in Vienna where Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov and top European and Arab diplomats are…

Ukrainian elections marked by allegations of corruption regarding ballots

Local elections were held across Ukraine on October 25, excepting one city where elections were canceled amid allegations of erroneously printed ballots. The Ukrainian governments stated that elections were canceled in the provincial capital of Mariupol in Ukraine’s eastern region. The steel company that printed the ballots is owned by Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akmetov,…

New reports reveal Moldovan black market of nuclear materials

A report from earlier this month published by the Associated Press focused on the market for nuclear materials in Moldova. The report, compiled by investigators working in conjunction with Moldovan law enforcement agencies and the FBI, details a black market of nuclear materials available in Moldova. As has been documented in some detail here and…

Russia and Kazakhstan in talks with OPEC countries over oil prices

In response to sagging oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) held a meeting in Vienna first time with eight non-member states including Russia and Kazakhstan. Previously, Russia and some other oil producers refused to work with OPEC.  Participation from Russia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil created the hope that they may assist in taking…

Japan looks to invest in Central Asian energy sector

For the first time since 2006, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a six-day tour in Central Asia with the goal of boosting energy cooperation in the region. Tokyo is believed to be on the edge of the implementation of a new policy for increasing its presence in Central Asia, ostensibly aimed to counter China’s…

Kazakhstan faces a prolonged economic crisis

Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev stated that the country is facing a crisis worse than that of 2007-2008, as he charged the government with drawing up an anti-crisis plan on October 19. Nazarbayev forecast that the country’s economic situation would not face an upturn soon, citing decreasing prices for natural gas and other resources exported from…

Iran hopes for Sanctions relief by the end of 2015

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator expressed hopes that an agreement will be reached on Iran’s rollback of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief before the end of the year. Negotiator Abbas Araqchi’s comments came a day after US President Obama approved sanctions waivers on October 18, the symbolic implementation day for the nuclear deal…