President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan turning into strategic transport center of Eurasia
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31
Azerbaijan is turning into a strategic transport center of Eurasia, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
He made the remarks in his opening speech at a conference dedicated to the results of implementation of "The State Program on socio-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2014-2018"
“Of course, the oil and gas sector is the main branch of our economy,” he said. “It is the case today, it was the case before and it will be the case in the future. We are simply trying to rapidly develop the non-oil sector and are achieving that. But regardless of the public and political formation, this has been the key economic driver ever since first oil was discovered in Azerbaijan. We are using these natural resources very rationally. The commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines is a great historic event. If these projects had not been implemented, we would not be able to receive such revenues because our export opportunities are limited, we do not have access to the world ocean and we definitely need oil and gas pipelines.”
“The construction of these pipelines was a very difficult project both financially and politically, and also from the point of view of international cooperation,” he noted. “We managed to do that. Today, these two pipelines are delivering our resources to world markets. The construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, one of Europe's largest infrastructure projects, is currently under way. This megaproject consisting of four projects is already in its final stages. Three of the four components have already been commissioned. The TANAP and the Southern Gas Corridor were inaugurated last year, and this is a historic event.”
“We have channeled our oil and gas revenues into the transport sector in order to turn Azerbaijan into a transport hub not only in this region but also of Eurasia,” he said. “We are already achieving this. The commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a historic event. It is an extremely important project, as it enables us to transport large volumes of cargo from East to West and from West to East through the territory of Azerbaijan. This enhances our geopolitical significance. At the same time, we will always earn currency thanks to this. The creation of the North-South corridor is also of great importance. A lot is being done in this direction. Of course, this work requires large-scale international cooperation. Azerbaijan has played a positive role in this area as an initiator.”
“Today, the number of countries connected via the East-West and North-South transport corridors exceeds 10, and their number will grow,” Ilham Aliyev added. “But only Azerbaijan participates in both projects. Therefore, we are turning into a strategic transport center of Eurasia. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the Alat international trade seaport, our road infrastructure, modern and modernizing infrastructure have all been created in recent years. If we had not paid so much attention to infrastructure projects, there could be no talk of any development today.”
“Fifteen years ago, we could not provide ourselves with electricity,” he said. “We either imported it from abroad or some regions of our country were left without light. Over the past 15 years, 31 new stations have been built and a new capacity of 2,500 megawatts have been created. Today we don't simply provide ourselves, we also export electricity. Fifteen years ago, the supply of natural gas was at about 50 percent; today, this figure is at 95 percent. The provision of drinking water was at 26 percent, but today it is at 70 percent. In 15 years, 15,000 kilometers of roads have been built.”