President: East-West, North-South routes to stretch through Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 12
Very serious actions related to a more efficient operation of the transport corridors must be taken in 2016, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in his concluding speech at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
President Aliyev chaired the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers Jan. 10 dedicated to the results of socioeconomic development of 2015 and objectives for the future.
"Serious actions were taken in late 2015," the president said. "The Coordinating Council was established for the transportation of transit goods through the territory of Azerbaijan. This is a very serious step. The Coordinating Council brings together all structures associated with transport."
"A common tariff policy is being conducted and must be conducted. At the same time these issues were discussed with the leadership of Georgia and Turkey," Ilham Aliyev said.
"Azerbaijan has offered to conduct a single tariff policy for this corridor with Georgia and Turkey. It is necessary for all the relevant structures to conduct a common policy and this corridor to become even more attractive. If only we make concessions in the tariff policy, as opposed to the neighboring countries, there will be no effect," he added.
The president further said that serious negotiations were held with potential shippers.
"These issues were widely discussed as part of my state visit to China in late 2015. The first container train has been already launched from China to Azerbaijan through this corridor," said Ilham Aliyev.
"I am confident that we will achieve the transportation of larger volumes of goods via this corridor in the future as the shortest route passes through the territory of Azerbaijan," the president said.
"There is infrastructure, we have created it, namely, the railway and sea transport. A new commercial port is being built. It has been partially put into operation. Moreover, the public is well aware that as a result of worsening of the Turkey-Russia relations, the movement of Turkish heavy vehicles to the Central Asia, Kazakhstan has become complicated. Azerbaijan has immediately offered its capabilities, we've granted privileges. Today the corridor has been working in this direction as well."
"Azerbaijan must be better prepared for this," the president said. "Of course, the infrastructure, located on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, must be also better prepared for this."
Ilham Aliyev stressed that the remaining section of the Baku-Astara railway must be constructed in 2016.
He further said that there are still 8 kilometers remaining, and the section will be built in 2016. The president said that talks have already been held with Iran, adding that the route itself is very important.
"This will turn Azerbaijan into a very important partner of the North-South corridor. Thus, all the routes, namely, the East-West and the North-South will stretch through Azerbaijan," said Ilham Aliyev. "This will ensure our political and economic interests. The coordination work should be conducted with all relevant structures."