Minister: Azerbaijan to not allow Armenia’s participation in BTK project
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 27 / Trend A.Tagiyeva /
Armenia will not be able to participate in Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project until it doesn't stop the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said on the eve at a meeting with his Turkish and Georgian counterparts, Doğan agency reported on Thursday.
"Only after the end of the occupation of Azerbaijani lands Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan can think on the accession of Armenia to the participation in the project," Mammadov said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the occupied territories.
It is planned to construct a new 105 kilometre branch railway as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the section of the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway will be reconstructed in Georgia which will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. It is planned to build a centre in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing train tracks in Georgia to the European one.
Peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo. This figure will be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in the initial stages.
In future, with completion of the Marmara project (construction of a tunnel under the Bosporus), access to Europe will be provided using the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.