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Agband railway opens new horizon for economic prosperity in S Caucasus [ANALYSIS]

21 May 2024 12:56 (UTC+04:00)
Agband railway opens new horizon for economic prosperity in S Caucasus [ANALYSIS]
Fatime Letifova
Fatime Letifova
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The occupation of the regions of Garabagh and Zangazur by Armenia and the inadequate use of the strategic importance of those territories for thirty years devalued the importance of the existing prospects for years. Even during the time of the Soviet Union, the Minjivan railway between East and West Zangazur played an exceptional role in establishing a connection with Nakhchivan. At that time, the presence of special trade networks in the territory of Minjivan also led to an increase in traffic between East and West Azerbaijan.

Unfortunately, as a result of the occupation policy of Armenia, the strategic importance of those territories was overshadowed for a long time, and this directly led to many negative reasons for the South Caucasus: there were negative effects on the economic potential of both Azerbaijan and Armenia, communication lines were paralysed, and the livelihood of the population was greatly declined.

Nevertheless, with the efforts of the glorious army of Azerbaijan and the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity in November 2020, after a 44-day Patriotic War. Immediately after this historical victory, the implementation of a number of important infrastructure projects was started in the liberated territories.

One of such projects is the reconstruction of the Horadiz-Aghband railway line. During his visit to Azerbaijan's Zangilan, President Ilham Aliyev announced that the foundation of the Horadiz-Aghband railway line had been laid and that this railway would connect the main part of Azerbaijan through the Zangazur corridor to Nakhchivan. The mentioned railway line will be one of the main elements of the Zangazur corridor, besides being of strategic and economic importance for Azerbaijan.

Approximately 80% of the construction works of the Horadiz-Agband railway line, which was laid by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev 3 years ago, have been successfully completed.

It is worth noting that the railway is of great importance both for the transportation of citizens and the goods. Currently, trains of Azerbaijan Railways can move up to Hekari station of the railway line.

9 stations on the 110.4 km long railway line, the longest 23-span, 771-meter bridge of Azerbaijani railways, the first closed railway tunnel built during Azerbaijan's independence years, and about 500 man-made engineering facilities are under construction.

The railway infrastructure in question will pass through Nakhchivan and extend to Turkiye, thus creating a second railway network connecting Azerbaijan with Turkiye. It should be noted that in 2017, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, built under the supervision of Azerbaijan, was put into operation.

With the construction of BTK, Azerbaijan and Turkiye were connected by a railway line for the first time in history. Now the construction of the second railway between the two brotherly countries continues.

Along with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the construction of the second railway in the region is of great strategic importance. This will support the development of trade and tourism between Turkiye and Azerbaijan.

It should be noted that creating new cooperation and ensuring its functionality is one of the important steps for ensuring security and stability in the South Caucasus.

Azerbaijan, as always, takes this position. Transport projects in the region have a paramount role for the long-term development of the region, for its geostrategic importance and ensuring stability and reducing the risks of war to zero. Besides, given Azerbaijan's geostrategic location between East and West, let us not forget that all countries participating in these projects will benefit.

Azerbaijan is currently conducting peace talks with Armenia. Following the meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries in Almaty, it was once again confirmed that the conclusion of peace agreement in the region is night. It seems that the current Armenian government has begun to understand that aggression in the region is only a threat and that economic and political cooperation is the only way for development.

It should be remembered that after Azerbaijan links with Nakhchivan and Turkiye, a railway line from Russia to Armenia can be launched. This line can only pass through the territory of Azerbaijan. Railway connection can be established even between Turkiye and Russia, which will lead to the strengthening of the connection of the countries in the South Caucasus with other regions. Moreover, this will pave the way for enhancing the 3+3 format which is still in the agenda of the regional states.

Also, the Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Agband highway, which starts from Ahmadbeyli village of Fuzuli, is being built with 6 and 4 lanes. The first 80-kilometer section of the road is planned to have 6 lanes, with 3 departures - 3 arrivals, and the remaining 43.8 kilometers, 4 lanes - 2 departures - 2 arrivals. According to the traffic lanes, the width of the road bed is 29.5 and 21.5 meters, respectively. 3 car tunnels with a total length of 6,015 meters, 2 viaducts and 23 car bridges, 8 overpasses, 50 underpasses, 5 crossing points, 400 circular pipes and rectangular ones to ensure the transfer of water were constructed along the newly constructed road according to the project. Besides, construction of 60 reserve crossings for water flow and communication lines is planned.

Recall that the Horadiz-Agbend railway line was destroyed and ceased to operate after the occupation of Azerbaijan's territories by Armenian armed forces in 1993. For 30 years, the last stop of trains was Horadiz station in Fuzuli district. However, after the glorious victory of Azerbaijan over Armenia, like any other road, the Agband road returns to its prosperity.

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