Azerbaijani President to Visit Georgia

Politics Materials 21 November 2007 01:06 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku / corr " Тrend " S. Agayeva / The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will visit Georgia to take part in the foundation ceremony of the Georgian part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. The ceremony will be held in Marabda ( South Georgia) on 21 November. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connects the transport systems of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Namig Aliyev, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Georgia, said in a telephone interview from Tbilisi to Trend news agency on 20 November.

The Turkish President Abdullah Gul will also visit Georgia. Together with the Azerbaijani and Turkish Presidents, the Georgian President Michael Saakashvili will also attend the ceremony in Marabda on 21 November.

The Azerbaijani company Azerinshat Service will construct the Georgian part of the railway.

The Baku- Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki- Kars project includes the construction of a 105km-railway line with a 76 km section running via Turkey and a 29 km section via Georgia. Moreover, the 183 km section of Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi railway will be also reconstructed to improve the carrying capacity to 15mln tons of cargo per year. There are plans to build in Akhalkalaki a place for the trains to switch track in Georgia to the European one.

The project is estimated at $422mln and taking into consideration the accompanying infrastructure its cost will comprise $600mln. Azerbaijan allocated a $200mln loan for the Marabda-Kartzakhi Railway line over 25 years with a 1% interest rate. The loan will be repaid with funds received from the use of the railway.

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed the final document on construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in February.

A new oil terminal Kulavi (Georgia) belonging to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) will be put into commission in Georgia on 21 November. The Presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia are expected to attend the ceremony.

SOCAR received a large syndicated credit in the amount of $301mln for construction of the terminal in 2007. The credit syndicate from 15 foreign banks is headed by Societe Generale. The credits are planned to be repaid by 2009.

The transport capacity of the terminal is 9mln tons. The total capacity of the reserve park of the terminal makes up 320,000 cu m. The capacity of the terminal will increase to 20mln tons and the increase in the reserve park will be to 380,000 cu m.