Uzbekistan eyes reaching Mediterranean via BTK
Uzbekistan is interested in using the Navoi-Turkmenbashi-Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway transport corridor, which will connect the railways of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia with Turkey’s transport network, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan Huseyn Guliyev said in an exclusive interview with Trend June 13.
“The Navoi-Turkmenbashi-Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will allow Uzbekistan to ensure an access to the Mediterranean Sea via Turkey’s Mersin port.”
The ambassador stressed that upon the order of the country’s leadership, an Uzbek delegation led by Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov visited Azerbaijan and took part in the opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which testifies to Uzbekistan’s interest in the project.
Guliyev added that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved a resolution on a comprehensive program for the improvement of Uzbekistan’s transport infrastructure and diversification of foreign trade routes for cargo transportation for 2018-2022.
“After the approval of the program, Uzbekistan began to plan test transit transportation via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in the first quarter of 2018,” he said. “This program envisages Uzbekistan’s participation in the formation of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-EU single transit corridor. Uzbekistan also sees this corridor as an access to the ports of Poti, Batumi and Chornomorsk, to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.”
“As an important component of the New Silk Road corridor, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will contribute to the development of the infrastructure and technical capabilities of the countries that have joined the One Belt-One Road initiative and will promote the development of land, marine and air communication programs,” Guliyev said.
“The One Belt-One Road project is meant to be developed jointly,” he said. “Therefore, this initiative does not envisage the creation of a specific route. It welcomes the active participation of all countries, international and regional organizations for the common good.”
The ambassador added that Uzbekistan is located in the very center of the Central Asian region, which is as an important junction on the ancient Great Silk Road.
“In the 1990s, Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov, announced the initiative to revive the Great Silk Road,” he said. “This initiative aims at establishing closer ties between the countries of Asia and Europe, bringing new mutually beneficial cooperation of these countries to a new historical level.”
The official opening ceremony of the BTK railway was held in Baku Oct. 30, 2017. The BTK railway was constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The railway’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
Source: Trend News Agency