Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has congratulated his Kazakh counterpart, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on his victory in the presidential elections held on November 20.
“The results of the election are a clear manifestation of your people`s great trust and confidence in you, and a high appreciation for your activities on the path of comprehensive development of brotherly Kazakhstan,” President Aliyev said in a letter sent to Kazakhstan's president, which was published on the Azerbaijani president’s website on November 21.
Hailing the interstate relations between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, the president added that “today, the development of our multifaceted relations and cooperation in a spirit of mutual respect and confidence, as well as their enrichment by a new content is gratifying”.
President Aliyev also expressed his hope that “we will successfully continue our joint efforts aimed at further expanding the traditional ties of friendship between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, as well as deepening our cooperation of mutual interest and strategic partnership”.
The incumbent Kazakh president won the presidential elections in all regions of the country and secured 81.31 per cent of votes, according to Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission Chairman Nurlan Abdirov.
He said that the second place goes to the candidate from the party Auyl Zhiguli Dayrabayev, who scored 3.42 per cent of the votes, and added that the turnout was about 70 per cent.
The Azerbaijani president’s letter also reaffirms Baku’s vision regarding the prospects of partnership with Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has supported the establishment of a new regional partnership format, such as the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) initiated by Türkiye and Azerbaijan.
Baku and Astana have expanded bilateral ties recently following Tokayev's official visit to Azerbaijan in August 2022, at the invitation of his counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev. The visit came amid deteriorating relations between Kazakhstan and Russia due to the latter’s crackdown on Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) that delivers Kazakh oil to Europe. The frequent disruption of Kazakh oil export via Russia makes the partnership with Baku vital.
Kazakhstan officials held several talks with their Azerbaijani counterparts regarding the potential export of Kazakh oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline that supplies Azerbaijani oil to Europe. According to Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, Kazakhstan will start exporting 1.5 million tonnes of oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from January 1, 2023.
"Through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, we now have an agreement to ship 1.5 million tonnes of oil in this direction from January 1, next year. And we are working on its further increase to 6-6.5 million tonnes. In terms of railway capabilities, Tengizchevroil has now purchased and doubled the number of tank cars, and pilot shipments by rail have already begun in the direction of Batumi and Uzbekistan," Smailov said on November 10.
Kazakhstan boosts trade partnerships within the Middle Corridor and Digital Silk Way projects within the established cooperation formats. At the end of October 2022, the official statement underlined that Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan would start construction of the fibre-optic communication line next year that will run along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to provide alternative Internet access and expand traffic transit between Europe and Asia. The leading telecommunications companies of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, AzerTelecom and Kazakhtelecom, respectively, will cooperate on the project.
The main subsea line, which measures 380 kilometres in length, will stretch from the Kazakh port city of Aktau to the city of Siyazan in Azerbaijan, while the reserve cable will be laid from the Kuryk port in Kazakhstan to Buzovna, a seaside settlement on the outskirt of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.
In late March, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Kazakhstan decided to form a Joint Venture on the Middle Corridor that should be operational by 2023. The 2022 Action Plan elaborates on the steps to be taken to facilitate transhipment processes and the smooth passage of cargo through different countries and modalities.
In early May, experts from Georgia’s state railway met in Ankara with counterparts from Türkiye, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to discuss the prospects of the Middle Corridor. As a result, companies from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan launched new feeder vessels between Georgia’s Poti and Romania’s Constanta ports.
Azerbaijan sees the Middle Corridor project as another opportunity to boost fruitful partnerships with China, Kazakhstan and other parts of the landlocked Central Asian region. Also, the corridor project will boost Azerbaijan's image as a safe and reliable transit hub linking Asia to Europe and ensure deeper regional integration.