Russia ready to invest $500 million in Central Asian electricity project
Russian state-controlled power trader Inter RAO is ready to invest $500 million in a project to supply electricity to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday during a meeting with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.
The $680 million CASA-1000 project involves the construction of electricity lines to supply power from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"If our company, Inter RAO, is granted the right to be the [project's] operator, we could take an active part in the construction of a high-voltage electricity line as part of the CASA-1000 project and our investment in this case could account for $500 million," the prime minister told Karzai during a meeting at his residence near Moscow on Friday.
Russia is the largest shareholder in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan's electricity generation plants, Putin said.
He also said that Russian companies are ready to participate in other infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, particularly in restoring irrigation systems and the reconstruction of a strategic tunnel under the Salang Pass that links the northern and the southern parts of the country.
Karzai, who arrived in Moscow on a two-day visit on Thursday, said his country welcomed Russia's participation in Afghan projects, adding that Afghanistan was also interested in buying more fuel from Russia.
Putin said Russian-Afghan trade turnover increased by 60 percent last year, adding that Moscow was ready to further develop trade and economic cooperation with Afghanistan.
Earlier on Friday, Karzai also discussed bilateral ties with President Dmitry Medvedev, RIA Novosti reported.