Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Mar. 11
By Huseyn Hasanov – Trend:
Pakistan has expressed its desire to join the transport-transit corridors of Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman and Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Trend reports referring to the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper.
Turkmen deputy prime minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashit Meredow planned to begin his visit to Islamabad, which will last until March 13, for talks. Transport sector has been defined as one of the priority directions of the partnership. In this context, it is planned to discuss the issues of creating a new transport corridor with the use of the possibilities for entering Europe through the Caspian Sea by using the transit potential of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, as stated in a report by Turkmenistan’s Turkmen Dovlet Habarlary state news agency.
The countries participating in the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transit project ("Lapis Lazuli”) signed the agreement on the optimization of tariffs and customs regulations during the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) on November 15, 2017 in the Turkmen capital.
In accordance with the Lapis Lazuli project, railways and highways will connect the city of Torghundi in Afghanistan’s Herat Province with Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), and further with the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan). The corridor will extend to Baku (Azerbaijan), going further through Tbilisi (Georgia) to Ankara (Turkey) with branches in Poti and Batumi (both in Georgia), and then from Ankara to Istanbul (both in Turkey). The project budget, which aims at facilitating transit logistics and simplification of customs procedures, is estimated at $2 billion. The large-scale project is aimed at increasing the economic integration of the region and increasing the trade volumes.