Afghanistan, Kazakhstan ready to join BTK project
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.16
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
Afghanistan and Kazakhstan are interested in joining the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project, Azerbaijan's Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov told reporters on Oct.16.
He made the remarks on the sidelines of the "Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line - new opportunities in the development of the Silk Road" international conference in Baku.
Mammadov said Azerbaijan has repeatedly proposed the interested countries to join the BTK project.
"Today Afghanistan expressed willingness to participate in the BTK project," he said, adding that Kazakhstan also shows interest in this project.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.
A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia, which will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A post is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.