Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, May 31
By Huseyn Hasanov– Trend:
Together with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan is actively working to effectively connect the regions of Central Asia, the Caspian and Black seas, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said in Ashgabat at a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State, Trend reports with reference to the Turkmenistan State News Agency.
“In essence, an extensive, integrated transport network is being formed, covering huge continental space,” the Turkmen president said.
He noted that participation of the CIS countries in this configuration is natural and beneficial.
“It also fits into the logic of ensuring the legitimate interests of the CIS states that don’t have direct access to the sea,” Berdimuhamedov noted, emphasizing that the construction of a new port and modernization of the existing port in Turkmenbashi city was completed in May last year.
“Today it is a powerful, multi-functional terminal equipped with the latest technology, focused on transport links between Asia and Europe,” he said. “In this capacity, the port of Turkmenbashi, without exaggeration, is intended to become one of the biggest transport hubs of continental significance. The benefits of the full use of its capabilities for the CIS countries are obvious.”
Noting in general the key role of the Caspian Sea in the context of Eurasian economic cooperation, the Turkmen president stressed that the Caspian Sea is intended to become a strategic hub for combining business interests not only of the coastal countries, but also other states, including the CIS participants.
This caused the Turkmen side to initiate convening the first Caspian Economic Forum, which will be held in Turkmenbashi city Aug. 12, 2019.
Ashgabat and Baku are closely cooperating in the implementation of the transport and transit project Lapis Lazuli, which runs along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route.
According to the project of Lapis Lazuli, railway lines and highways will connect the city of Turgundi (Afghan province of Herat) with Ashgabat first and then with the Caspian port of Turkmenbashi.
The corridor will continue to Baku, then through Tbilisi to Ankara with branches in Poti and Batumi, and then from Ankara to Istanbul. The project budget, which aims to facilitate transit logistics and simplify customs procedures in the region, is estimated at $2 billion.