By Rasana Gasimova
Russian Ambassador Mikhail Bocharnikov has praised Azerbaijan’s involvement in the North-South International Transport Corridor, saying that the country is located in the very center of the corridor and plays a key role in its functioning.
In an interview to CBC TV channel, Bocharnikov noted that Russia and Azerbaijan are building cooperation in the framework of the North-South International Transport Corridor project despite any sanctions.
He said that all the countries participating in or using the North-South International Transport Corridor have their own national interests, which they will pursue through this project.
He went on saying that in 2018, freight traffic along the corridor increased by 8 times, and in the first quarter of 2019 there was a two time increase.
“This corridor is already working very successfully. Azerbaijan, which is located in its very center, is playing a key role, because here another route can also intersect - from east to west. That’s what is happening," M. Bocharnikov said.
He also noted that cargoes along the “One Belt - One Route” route are transported through the territories of Asian states, reach the eastern coast of the Caspian, and then by sea arrive at the Azerbaijan’s port of Alat and from there continue going to the West.
"If we add the possibility of connecting the railway passing through the territory of Russia, through Trans-Siberian Railway, with access to the North-South International Transport Corridor, this will further strengthen the significance of this route. As far as I know, Russian and Azerbaijani railways are already eyeing such an opportunity," he said.
Bocharnikov also highlighted the importance of a new 325 meters long highway bridge across Samur River put into operation in late 2019.
"It is important in the regional plan, because it unites Russia and Azerbaijan ... And, of course, it is an important element of the North-South International Transport Corridor," he said.
Bocharnikov emphasized the practical importance of the bridge across Samur for the Azerbaijani-Russian economic cooperation.
He also said that there is a task of equipping and modernizing checkpoints, as well as opening new checkpoints.
"It also includes the creation of new access roads to checkpoints. I want to note that the new Baku-Guba- Russian Federation state border highway is just part of this complex, since it will go directly to the border crossing point. So it is quite significant. It is not just a bridge, it is a very important element of economic integration,” Bocharnikov emphasized.
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