Baku, Azerbaijan, May 28
Today, Azerbaijan is becoming a regional transport center, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressing an official reception held on the occasion of Azerbaijan's national holiday, the Republic Day.
"I wouldn't speak much about what has been done since 2003 until now. Everything is obvious," said Ilham Aliyev. "Azerbaijan's international authority has grown. With the support from 155 countries we have become a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council, the national economy has grown by more than threefold, and the wages and pensions have been increased by many times."
He went on to add that Azerbaijan has successfully realized the transnational energy and transportation projects that are of huge significance.
"From a country that used to import gas and electricity, Azerbaijan has turned into a country that now exports them. When realizing the energy projects, in particular the oil and gas projects, we demonstrate our leadership qualities to the entire world," said President Aliyev.
He reminded that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is expected to be commissioned by late 2016.
"As you know, Azerbaijan has fulfilled all its commitments. According to the information I have, the railway will be opened by the end of this year," said President Aliyev.
"Currently, talks are underway with relevant shippers. I am confident that this shortest railway running from Asia to Europe will be put into operation soon and will bring great benefits to Azerbaijan," said the president.
President Aliyev added that important steps will be taken before late 2016 for creating another significant corridor.
"Azerbaijan is to build its railway up to the Iranian border. It is one of the goals as well," said the president.
A new railway bridge should be built across the Astara River, said the president, adding that thereby, an important part of the North-South corridor project will get implemented.
He added that in the coming years, Azerbaijan will render assistance in creating the corridor's remaining part and stands ready to attract financial resources.