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CSTO peacekeepers from four countries leave Kazakhstan

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CSTO peacekeeping units from Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan left Almaty for places of their permanent deployment.

Report informs citing TASS that ten planes with Belarus peacekeepers onboard took off from the Zhitygen airfield to Minsk.

Units from Armenia loaded their vehicles and personnel into three Il-76 military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces and took off from the Almaty airfield.

In turn, the Tajik servicemen departed aboard one Russian Il-76 together with their cadets studying in military educational institutions of Kazakhstan during the holidays.

The Kyrgyz peacekeepers moved out from the territory of the Almaty TPP-2, which they protected, on their own convoy towards the border of their state. They have to drive around 250 km to Kyrgyzstan.

In accordance with the decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council, adopted on January 6, 2022, the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO were sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time to stabilize and normalize the situation. The group included units of the armed forces of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

On January 13, 2022, the peacekeeping contingent started to gradually withdraw from the territory of Kazakhstan The Russian Defense Ministry said that the first units of Russian paratroopers from the CSTO peacekeeping forces returned home from Kazakhstan aboard four Il-76MD aircraft.

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Azerbaijan’s economy grows over 7%

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In January-April this year, Azerbaijan produced gross domestic product (GDP) worth nearly 40 billion manats ($23.5 billion), up 7.2% compared to the same period last year.

Report informs, citing the State Statistics Committee, that the value added in the country's oil and gas sector increased by 0.2% and in the non-oil and gas sector by 11.4% over the past year.

Industry made up 54.8% of GDP, trade, and repair of vehicles each constituted 7.7%, transport and warehousing were responsible for 6%, construction accounted for 4%, agriculture, forestry and fishing for 2.4%, information and communication for 1.4%, tourists accommodation and catering for 1.3%, other areas accounted for 14.5%, while net taxes on products and imports amounted to 7.9% of GDP.

During the year, the country's GDP increased by 57.15% to 3,938 manats.

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Vice-speaker of Iranian Parliament visiting Azerbaijan

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A delegation led by Iran's First Vice-Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) Ali Nikzad visited the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan on May 16, Report informs.

During the visit, the Iranian Vice-Speaker Ali Nikzad will meet with the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov. The officials will discuss the prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

Then Ali Nikzad and his delegation will leave Nakhchivan for Baku to attend the 3rd session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

During his two-day visit to Azerbaijan, the Vice-Speaker of the Iranian Parliament will hold several bilateral meetings.

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Stop calling Putin, Estonia’s PM says

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There is no point in talking to Vladimir Putin if we really want him to understand he is isolated, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told EURACTIV in what can be seen as a thinly veiled criticism of largely unsuccessful phone diplomacy with Moscow, Report informs.

“I feel that if everybody is constantly calling him, he doesn’t get the message that he’s isolated. So if we want to get the message through that actually ‘you are isolated’, don’t call him – there’s no point,” she repeated a message she had told an international audience the same day.

“He feels that he’s the center of attention because everybody wants to talk to him. But what do we get out of this? I don’t see any results, because after all these talks, Bucha happened, Irpin happened – we don’t see any signs of de-escalation,” she added.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been trying to negotiate a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, said earlier this week that Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a negotiated truce and that peace efforts would not be served by Russia’s “humiliation”.

Asked if it would make sense to ‘keep diplomatic channels open’, Kallas told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview said she personally does not see “any point in talking to him”.

Over the past few months, France and Germany have faced increased criticism for being responsible for a failed Minsk peace process, which has sought to halt the war in Ukraine’s east that began when Russia-backed separatists seized swaths of territory following Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

But years on, there has been no full political settlement and Ukrainian officials have made the diplomatic efforts responsible for opening the door to Russia’s 24 February invasion.

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