By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev has said that the Zangazur corridor will open up new opportunities and prospects for the Eurasia region.
The opening of the Zangazur corridor has been envisaged by the November 10 peace deal that stipulates the unblocking of economic and trade connections that had remained closed due to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Addressing the “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” international conference held in Uzbekistan on July 16, Mustafayev said that Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War and the liberation of its territories created new geopolitical situation in the region and opened up new opportunities for the development of transport corridors.
Noting the trilateral statement signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia on November 10, Mustafayev emphasized that the document envisages the restoration of transport communications and economic ties in the region.
“Currently, Azerbaijan is working on the creation of the Zangazur transport corridor, which will become part of the East-West corridor. The creation of this corridor will open up great opportunities and new prospects for all regional countries,” he said.
He added that the corridor will contribute to the further integration of the Mediterranean and Caspian basin countries into the Great Silk Road and the North-South corridor.
"The restoration of communications in the new reality will serve as a guarantor of peace, security, stability and the development of mutually beneficial cooperation not only in the South Caucasus but in general in the Eurasian space," Mustafayev stated.
Mustafayev stated that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to regional cooperation and is interested in supporting stability and security in the region and its economic prosperity.
“Being located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan, together with regional partners, participates in a whole range of initiatives and projects aimed at developing transport and energy communications, strengthening regional and continental trade.”
The deputy prime minister also noted that Azerbaijan has implemented a number of projects, such as the construction of Alat modern international seaport, and the creation of a free economic zone there, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Southern Gas Corridor energy projects.
Touching upon the North-South international transport corridor, the deputy PM underlined that Azerbaijan, together with such project partners as Iran and Russia, actively promotes and develops this route.
“Azerbaijan, together with partners, is effectively developing the East-West transport corridor, designed to ensure the transportation of transit goods between China and the countries of Central Asia and Europe and ensures access to the ports of Georgia and Turkey,” he said.
Likewise, the deputy prime minister underlined that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries which supported China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Additionally, Mustafayev said that a new international multimodal corridor is being created jointly with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Georgia to increase opportunities for cargo transportation in addition to the existing capacities.
It should be noted that according to the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan ranks 27th in the world for the quality of road infrastructure, 11th for the efficiency of train services, 12th for the efficiency of air transport services and 25th for the efficiency of seaport services.
On the sidelines of the conference, Mustafayev met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavushoglu and Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Manlio Di Stefano.
During the meeting with Cavushoglu, the parties discussed further development of bilateral relations, energy and transport projects. In addition, they discussed the current state and prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
During the meeting between Mustafayev and Stefano, the sides noted that Italy is one of Azerbaijan’s main trade partners, adding that the energy area is one of the key positions in this direction.
The parties also discussed the participation of Italian companies in the implementation of projects in the field of agriculture, viticulture, winemaking, and projects in the field of green energy and ecology in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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