details added (first version posted at 13:36)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 2
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
The political situation in Turkey will not affect the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project, Turkish Minister of Trade and Customs Cenap Ascı told reporters Oct. 2.
"This project is very important to us," he said. "Every day we observe the construction work. The project is slightly delayed. The tunnels are being constructed. There is a more solid ground than we expected. But I hope that the project will be completed in 2016."
Ascı said that the current Turkish government is greatly interested in the BTK project implementation.
"I would like to stress that the current situation in Turkey will not hamper the project implementation," he said. "I hope that we will hold the snap parliamentary election November 1 and form the government. We will continue implementing the project. I would like to assure that it will be successfully completed."
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007. SOFAZ has allocated two loans totaling $775 million for the construction of the Georgian section.
A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A depot is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.
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