By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan and its southern neighbour Iran have marked the 50th anniversary of a joint operation of Aras and Mil-Mugan dams built along the Aras River on the border, the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry’s press service has reported.
Addressing the ceremony, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov noted that the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams are not just socio-economic objects for both countries, but a bridge of long-term cooperation.
“On the example of new projects implemented on the territory of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams, Aras HPP and Aras River, it is safe to say that Azerbaijan and Iran are countries that constantly turn the border between themselves into an opportunity for joint cooperation,” the minister said.
He added that Aras and Mil-Mugan dams have largely served the interests of both countries, for half a century, forming a model of the use of transboundary waters.
Shahbazov reminded that Aras HPP, with a total capacity of 22 MW, has made an important contribution to Azerbaijan’s energy security.
The minister underlined that the cooperation on the joint use of water and energy resources of the Aras River has now expanded and entered a new stage of development with the help of Khudaferin, Giz Galasi hydrojunctions and HPPs.
“New geopolitical realities and a safe development environment that have developed in the region with the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation and the restoration of historical borders have already removed obstacles to the implementation of these projects,” he added.
Stating that the implementation of these projects further increases the importance of the Aras River for both states, Shahbazov underlined that in the near future, the Khudaferin and Giz Galasi HPPs will be built with a total installed capacity of 200 MW and 80 MW, respectively.
Thus, are a result, it will be able to produce 716 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
In turn, Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian noted that commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams operation expresses deep friendship relation and operation between Azerbaijan and Iran.
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Prime Minister Sabuhi Mammadov emphasized that the joint projects implemented today further strengthen the relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.
Furthermore, governor or Iran’s Eastern Azerbaijan province Mohammad Reza Pour Mohammadi underlined Iran’s readiness for any cooperation with Azerbaijan.
“Considering the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the agreement on the establishment of sustainable peace in the region, a good opportunity has been created for the cooperation of all countries in the region. We are ready for any cooperation with Azerbaijan,” he stated.
A protocol was signed on the results of the 50th meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on the operation of the Aras and Mil-Mugan dams.
With a total volume of 1.3 billion cubic meters, Aras dam was built by Azerbaijan and Iran on the Aras River and commissioned in 1971. Mil-Mugan dam provides irrigation of 400,000 hectares of land in the territories of both countries.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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