Baku. 25 December. REPORT.AZ/ The outgoing 2017 year remembered with various news that influenced global geopolitics. Report News Agency prepared an annual compilation of the main events.
In 2017, a number of important projects were implemented in Azerbaijan, not only for the country itself, but for the region as a whole, and also an important agreement was signed.
"The New Contract of the Century"
The new agreement on development of "Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli" (ACG) fields block in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea signed on September 14 with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) was signed to extend the contract on ACG fields block development until 2050.
Under a new agreement, the SOCAR's share rising to 25%.
"Today is a significant day in the history of Azerbaijan, a new era begins in the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the signing ceremony.
"In particular, the share of SOCAR in the new contract will be 25% (under the current contract - 11.65%). In addition, after signing the contract foreign investors will pay Azerbaijan $ 3.6 billion in various bonuses, the share of profitable oil will be 75%”, the head of state said.
Opening of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov have attended the opening ceremony. This transport corridor will link Asia and Europe, and significantly increase the volume of cargo transportation through the South Caucasus - Azerbaijan, Georgia - and Turkey.
The capacity of this route is 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo per year. In the future, it can be increased to three million passengers and 20 million tons of cargo.
Political scientist Tofig Abbasov believes that Azerbaijan, indeed, is a very profitable partner for many states of both Asia and Europe, as it occupies a very advantageous geographical position.
"We in some sense represent a very subtle plexus, we are at the intersection of the paths - North-South, East-West.
Considering the fact that the pyramid, which unites three continents - Europe, Africa and Asia, the development of transport corridors and the expansion of communication infrastructure is very important in terms of prospects, "the political scientist said.
The 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku
Baku has hosted the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, May 12-22.
Talismans of the Games were Karabakh racers İncə (delicate), personifying beauty and tenderness, and Cəsur (Brave), distinguished by freedom and self-confidence.
20 kinds of sports included in sports program of the Games. The athletes from 57 countries took part in the Islamic Games.
Within 11 days, the representatives of 40 countries won 269 gold, 267 silver, 350 bronze medals - in total 886 prizes were grabbed.
162 medals were won by Azerbaijani athletes, taking the first line of winners on gold with 75 medals. The second place belongs to Turkey with 195 medals and 71 gold. Iran took 39 gold and 98 medals in the overall standings.
On the world stage, perhaps, the most pressing were the issues of fighting terrorism, ISIS, in the second half of the year the world public watched events in Spanish Catalonia with interest.
On October 1, authorities of Catalonia conducted a poll on the independence of the autonomy, which was deprived of legal force, calling it a "referendum”.Official Madrid did not recognize it and called it "illegal", withdrawing ballots and ballot boxes and closing about 300 sites, which resulted in riots in Catalonia.On October 31, the Constitutional Court of Spain suspended the declaration of independence of Catalonia, approved by the authorities of the region on October 27. The Attorney General's Office of Spain instituted criminal proceedings against the former head of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and 19 former members of the government, accusing them of insurgency and corruption.He can be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.However, on the same day, Puigdemont and his five companions flew to Brussels.
At the moment, the Belgian prosecutor's office demands extradition of C. Puigdemont to the Spanish authorities, two court hearings have already taken place.
As a result of the repeated parliamentary elections held on December 21 Catalonia’s three pro-independence parties, JuntxCat, ERC and CUP, have declared victory after winning an absolute majority of 70 seats in the 135-seat parliament, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government.
Pro-unity party Ciudadanos wants Catalonia to remain part of Spain. It is set to win 36 seats, up from 25.
Expert Tofig Abbasov believes, all events in Catalonia have a pronounced separatist color.
In his opinion, European countries are faced with the fact that "separatism is emerging in such countries as Spain, Bavaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy."
"American political circles are interested in always shaking and feverish Europe.
America, in fact declaring the entire planet as a zone of its interests, nevertheless uses Europe as its main springboard”, he said.
Fighting the ISIS, the news on Middle East
Another event of the year was the end of the fight with the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq and Syria, at least, it was officially announced in the above-mentioned countries, as well as in the US., Russia, and Iran.
On November 21, Iraqi prime minister Haidar Al-Abadi announced in his speech on television that the ISIS was defeated in the country.
On December 11, Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived at the Russian base in Syria Khmeiem, where he officially announced the withdrawal of a "significant part" of the Russian grouping of troops from the country. On December 12, US President Donald Trump announced the victory of the Americans over the ISIS both in Iraq and in Syria.
“I think it is too early to talk about the final victory. Terrorists regroup their forces, preserving their capabilities. I believe that in 2018 there will be complications on the Syrian and Iraqi directions," Abbasov believes.
In his opinion, the countries that supported certain terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq - the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states - will continue to support them for the implementation of their plans.
In turn, Neizhmakov, commenting on the possible alignment of forces in the Middle East next year, expressed the opinion that in the new year the distance will remain between the US and Turkey.
According to him, in 2018, the confrontation between the US and Iran may be less intense than many expected.
"Tough statements - in the spirit of the recent phrase of the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on the creation of a coalition" truly opposed to Iran "- can often replace real steps against Iran”, expert added.
Unfortunately, despite the announced victory over the ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in 2017 terrorist acts continued to be carried out and ISIS took responsibility for them in most cases.
The most significant incident took place in Istanbul nightclub on January 1. At least 39 people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on where people were celebrating the new year.
On August 17, the car hit pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain killing 13 people and injuring 100 people.
Again the ISIS group took responsibility for the attack.
There was also a terrorist attacks on April 3 in St. Petersburg metro (Russian Federation), then a truck that hit a crowd of people in Stockholm on April 7 and similar attack in London on March 22 and June 3 and at the Manchester Arena on May 22.
The first year of Donald Trump as President of the United States
Another factor that influenced the world political events this year was US President Donald Trump and his activities. Officially taking office as US President on January 20, Trump counted on the development of the national economy and revised approaches at US foreign policy, which cannot always be called successful.
In particular, the situation around the DPRK remains unsettled, according to which Washington systematically threatens to strike.
As an example, statement of the US President on the rupture of the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action concluded between Iran and the six countries (the US, France, Great Britain, China, Russia), introduction of a travel ban barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, an attempt to build a wall on the border with Mexico, as well as the recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to transfer the US embassy there, which provoked violent discontent in Muslim countries.
Leading analyst of the Russian Agency for Political and Economic Communications Mikhail Neizhmakov believes, next year D. Trump will have to pay more attention to the internal agenda - in November, mid-term elections to the Congress will be held.
"On the international scene, there will be two opposing tendencies. Allies and partners of the United States will demand certainty in foreign policy from Trump. At the same time, the White House's foreign policy moves are increasingly a game on the brink of a foul, with the aim, which includes compensating for the unstable position of the US president in the domestic political arena. This can further intensify the tension within the US administration itself, up to the resignation of a number of key figures, as well as between it and the Congress”, he stressed.
Other important events in the world this year were the election of Emmanuel Macron as the president of France, re-election of Hassan Rouhani as the Iranian president, impeachment to president of South Korea, constitutional referendum in Turkey on the transition from the parliamentary form of government to the presidential republic, expansion of US sanctions against Russia, Iran and DPRK.