By Leman Mammadova
UN Development Program (UNDP) is set to continue support for the development of the Red Bridge border crossing point between Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Safar Mehdiyev, Chairman of Azerbaijan State Customs Committee, met with Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative for Azerbaijan, on June 11.
The chairman spoke about long-term efficient relations between UNDP and customs bodies of Azerbaijan and noted that this cooperation has greatly contributed to the development of the country's customs.
Mehdiyev stressed that Azerbaijan's customs has become a reliable partner of the international community due to the reforms carried out in the customs sphere. As a clear example of this, the chairman cited the election in April this year of the State Customs Committee as a Deputy Chairman of the WCO Customs Cooperation Council, the head of the European Region, which incorporates 52 countries, as well as the organization of WCO "Information Technology, Technological Innovations Conference and Exhibition" on June 12 in Baku.
He further noted that UNDP's support in various areas plays an important role in the achievements and expressed confidence that cooperation will be further strengthened.
Alessandro Fracassetti, in turn, praised the Committee's successes and noted that he is proud of the UNDP's role in these achievements.
UNDP Resident Representative said that the projects implemented within the framework of joint cooperation were fruitful, emphasizing that Azerbaijan’s customs has overcome important tasks, has taken significant steps to ensure transparency, prevent drug trafficking and facilitate trade.
Later, the parties signed an agreement on the prolongation of the project “Technical support for the development of Red Bridge customs checkpoint on the Azerbaijani-Georgian border”, which is implemented with the support of the organization.
Following the signing ceremony, the vehicles provided to the State Customs Committee by UNDP within the framework of this project were reviewed.
The project with budget of $3 million supports the governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia in securing their borders and facilitating the legal passing of people and goods across the Red Bridge border crossing point. It also provides trainings on sanitary and phytosanitary controls and helps develop the necessary infrastructure and equipment for control on both sides of the border.
It should be noted that since 1992, UNDP has spent over $190 million in development projects in Azerbaijan.
Red Bridge is the crossing point between Georgia and Azerbaijan on the road from Tbilisi to Ganja. It is named so because there is a red-brick arch bridge across the Khrami River in the no-man's land area between the border posts.
The total length of the Georgian-Azerbaijani border is 480 kilometers. In addition to the Red Bridge, Georgia and Azerbaijan are connected with the customs checkpoints Gardabani, Mtkvari, Lagodekhi and Samtatskaro.
It should also be noted that new logistics centers are planned to be created at the Red Bridge customs checkpoint.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz