Afghanistan asking for Azerbaijan's money
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 10
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
Afghanistan has an interest in Azerbaijani investments in infrastructure, oil and gas production, where Azerbaijan has great experience, and in electricity production using natural gas, the mines and petroleum minister of Afghanistan, Daud Shah Saba, told Trend Apr. 10.
He was commenting on the negotiations earlier held between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan in Baku.
"We have invited the investors from Azerbaijan to the oil and gas sector, as well as the ones who are interested in Afghanistan's natural resources," he said, adding, "We are the most resource-rich country in the region."
The minister noted that Afghanistan has a huge potential in study of natural resources.
He said the main advantage of the work in this area in Afghanistan lies in the fact that there is a small competition in his country, but the revenue from investments is big.
Aside from that, the minister expressed dissatisfaction with the level of trade between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan, which totals a couple of hundred million dollars, and this figure mainly accounts for goods imports from Azerbaijan, while the exports from Afghanistan stand at a very low level.
"We are interested in using the routes from Turkmenistan across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey for transiting our products," said Daud Shah Saba. "I believe both countries have such an interest."
The Afghan president's special representative for the CIS countries, Mohammad Shaker Kargar, positively described the outcomes of the visit to Azerbaijan, noting that the execution of concrete tasks will start in the future.
Touching upon the cooperation in the energy sector, Kargar said Afghanistan annually consumes up to four million metric tons of oil products, adding that during his visit to Baku, negotiations were held on Azerbaijan's organizing a work in this area in Afghanistan.
"We are also in talks with Azerbaijani side for the construction of terminals on the Afghan border. The matter rests in the Turgundi terminal on the border with Turkmenistan and the Akina terminal in the north of the country," he told Trend.
Aside from that, Kargar called the sector of transit a promising area of cooperation with Azerbaijan.
"We have opened a new transport corridor 'Lazurite', which links Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia," said Kargar. "We have been seriously engaged in this project for a very long time, and the Azerbaijani side gave us a 'green light' for it."
"I believe that by late this year the route will be opened, thus allowing to deliver goods across the Caspian Sea to Europe and Afghanistan," he added.
Currently, as he said, Azerbaijan is investing in the north of Afghanistan, where there is an oil refinery with a monthly refining capacity of 35,000 metric tons of oil.
Kargar said that during the visit, proposals were made to increase the investments in Afghanistan.
"In May, there will be the visits of the Afghan businessmen, representatives of the parliament, the interior ministry and the defense ministry to Baku," said Kargar. "Currently, work is underway to prepare an agenda and related documents to hold a meeting of the intergovernmental commission."
According to statistics from Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee, in 2014, the trade between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan totalled $275.99 million, and was entirely ensured through exports from Azerbaijan.
The trade between the two countries in Jan.-Feb. 2015 was worth $15.7 million, according to Azerbaijan's State Statistics Committee.
Edited by SI
Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum