Baku's newly opened Fairmont Hotel occupies one of three flame-shaped skyscrapers whose curved facades, come nightfall, transform into giant video screens depicting blazing fires. From the 27th floor, there’s a lovely view of the Azerbaijani capital and its crescent-shaped bay in the Caspian Sea. One evening, an employee joins me at a window near the elevator and directs my gaze to a 162-meter pole topped witha national flag the size of two tennis courts. With evident pride, she tells me it’s the tallest flagpole in the world. In 2010, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev marked its unveiling with an elaborate ceremony featuring scores of goose-stepping soldiers.
Tajikistan, which will host a United Nations summit on international water in August, is negotiating with neighbors to end a feud in the Amu Darya River basin where it plans to build the tallest hydroelectric dam.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Tajikistan to sign accords on defense cooperation, migration and energy with the former Soviet state that borders Afghanistan and China, according to Putin’s foreign policy aide.
Tethys Petroleum Ltd. expects Tajikistan to approve its venture with Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp. this quarter, speeding up exploration in an area that may hold more oil and gas than the North Sea.
“I like this atmosphere,” said Muzafar, a 20-something volunteer at the American Corner, an outreach program of the U.S. Embassy, as we walked along a boulevard in the Tajikistan capital city of Dushanbe. “I just remember the civil war, growing up, and now these days!”