BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 15. Azerbaijan has firmly cemented its reputation as a dependable partner across numerous domains. These assertions are not mere rhetoric; they find concurrence among leaders worldwide who hold unwavering trust in Azerbaijan. In this context, Central Asian nations are at the forefront of enhancing cooperation with Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev's dedicated focus on partnership with each of the Central Asian economies has been instrumental in reinforcing essential connections between these two significant regions on the global stage.
President Ilham Aliyev’s participation at the 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia in Dushanbe has showcased the remarkable role Azerbaijan plays on the global stage right now. This meeting marked the inaugural participation of a head of state from a non-regional country, underscoring the President Ilham Aliyev's personal influence, and signifying the deep recognition of Azerbaijan’s contributions to global peace, security, and the promotion of cooperation.
“Azerbaijan and the countries of Central Asia are bound by the centuries-long brotherhood ties of our peoples. Shared cultural roots are the solid foundation of interstate relations.
For over 30 years, as independent states, we actively engage both in bilateral and multilateral formats. We support each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and actively develop economic ties. With growing economy, demographics and geopolitical potential Central Asia and Azerbaijan is a single historical and cultural geographic region of strategic significance in world politics,” President Ilham Aliyev said, while addressing the participants.
The leaders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan placed special emphasis on President Ilham Aliyev’s participation in the event. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in his remarks that the participation of the leader of fraternal Azerbaijan is an indicator of the sincere efforts of the peoples of the both regions aimed at comprehensively strengthening the centuries-old bonds of friendship and mutual understanding. Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev underlined that Azerbaijan’s participation in the event is further evidence of the deep historical relations and the current high level of cooperation.
Now more than ever, Azerbaijan's role becomes critical for the entire Central Asian region in sustaining further comprehensive economic development. The key transportation links required by Central Asian countries to access the European market, and moreover, the highly modernized ones, pass directly through Azerbaijan. In this regard, all participants in the meeting drew attention to the need for further development of the Middle Corridor's potential – one of the key, vital projects linking Central Asia with Azerbaijan.
Efforts have been underway to boost the Middle Corridor's throughput capacity to 10 million tons by 2025, as outlined in the roadmaps signed between Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Georgia. An estimated two million tons of cargo are projected to be transported along the Middle Corridor in 2023.
For further development of its transportation and logistics, Azerbaijan is working on expanding the capabilities of its shipyard, for instance. Currently, Azerbaijan boasts the Caspian Sea's most extensive trade fleet, comprising more than 50 vessels. Upon the finalization of investment projects, the annual production of tankers and dry cargo vessels is expected to escalate from the current six to a range of 10 to 15 vessels.
“The sphere of transportation and logistics holds an important place in our relations. For the Central Asian countries Azerbaijan is a reliable transit country along the route to the markets of Türkiye and Europe. Not of the least significance is the transit in the opposite direction. Our brothers in Central Asia know that Azerbaijan’s entire transportation and logistics infrastructure is available to them,” President Ilham Aliyev pointed out during the meeting.
Shared priorities form a robust basis for cultivating enduring and sustainable cooperation in strategic spheres. Consequently, Azerbaijan and the Central Asian economies, each wielding significant leadership roles in their respective regions, have the potential and responsibility to drive interregional cooperation forward. Within this framework, President Ilham Aliyev's endeavors to foster long-term peace, security, and stability in the region are of paramount significance.