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Active work underway to unblock South Caucasus transport links

16 December 2021 15:59 (UTC+04:00)
Active work underway to unblock  South Caucasus transport links

By Ayya Lmahamad

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk has said that active work is underway to unblock transport communications in the South Caucasus.

He made the remarks during the conference "Current state and prospects of Russian-Azerbaijani relations in the context of integrated processes" held in Baku on December 16.

"Active work is underway to unblock transport communications, as well as on a mutual visit. We would like to talk about the potential of the integration processes that are taking place in Eurasia," he said.

“Speaking about international relations, we mean a macroregion. We see what processes are going on in North America, Southeast Asia, we follow the processes of implementing the Chinese initiative One Belt - One Road. In fact, little is said about integration into the Eurasian economic zone," he added.

Overchuk noted the need to develop and do everything possible to strengthen regional relations, adding that strengthening relations according to the formula of individual countries led to the idea of multi-level integration.

He emphasized that during the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, a number of countries aimed at regional integration immediately joined this structure.

"We are moving along the path of economic integration," he said.

The deputy prime minister noted that today the region is turning into a macroregion, adding that single cooperation in the production and delivery of goods is being established.

"Today we are working to create a space for working citizens and the transportation of goods. The aggregate GDP of the EAEU countries amounted to $1.3 trillion, trade between the member countries of the organization - $55 billion. There is outstripping growth in trade. From January through September, trade rose 32.7 percent. We reached the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels and exceeded them by about 10 percent. In our internal borders, we actually abandoned all types of control, except for border control," he said.

Stressing that the free movement of people is an important factor, he added that paying the same taxes without discrimination is a very important indicator.

New opportunities to connect Asia, Europe markets

Alexei Overchuk has said that Azerbaijan may also discover absolutely new opportunities to connect markers of Asia and Europe.

He noted that Russia's investments in Azerbaijan reached $4.5 billion, and Azerbaijan's investments in Russia reached $1.5 billion.

Moreover, he emphasized the interest of Russian business circles in working in Azerbaijan, adding that there are good prospects for the development and creation of railways, for the development of renewable energy sources, high-tech enterprises and logistics.

“Now we have new opportunities to connect North-South and West-East. The entire EAEU region can benefit from this. Construction of new highways from the borders of Kazakhstan to the Baltic ports and Belarus is being conducted. One is in the active construction stage, and another - Meridian - will pass from Kazakhstan to Belarus in the Gomel region. We are very serious about these projects to start working on in the near future," he said.

Participation in Karabakh restoration

Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev has said that Russian companies presented 13 packages of proposals to Azerbaijan for participation in works in Karabakh. He noted that KAMAZ PTC has already demonstrated a vivid example of the implementation of a Russian project in Karabakh.

Noting that the bilateral cooperation with Russia is developing in all directions, even in the face of a pandemic, Mustafayev underlined that there are seven roadmaps for cooperation.

“Today we have seven roadmaps for cooperation. Successful cooperation is underway on all roadmaps, and we are achieving our goals. Last year, trade fell slightly, and I hope that next year we will reach pre-pandemic levels. We expect the growth rate to pick up even more. There is a good prospect for building up mutual investments," he said.

The deputy prime minister also noted that, currently, a number of investment projects are being implemented, and new opportunities are opening up.

Trade turnover

Speaking at the conference, Russian ambassador Mikhail Bocharnikov said that Russian-Azerbaijani trade has grown by 7 percent since the beginning of 2021.

"Today we are receiving intense impulses for the development of political cooperation. Economic relations are also actively developing, mutual trade is growing. In 2021, the growth amounted to seven percent. The mutual interest of companies from the two countries is growing," Bocharnikov said.

The ambassador added that today's integration agenda deserves attention and is very important for the region as a whole.

Azerbaijan and Russia have mutual cooperation in different fields, such as economy, agriculture, customs, communications, high technology, and others. More than 230 intergovernmental and intercompany documents have been signed between the two countries and six "road maps" are being implemented.

Earlier this year Azerbaijan participated in a number of international exhibitions held in Russia. The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia amounted to $2.6 billion in 2020, making Russia Azerbaijan’s third-largest partner. Additionally, Azerbaijan is a major supplier of fruits and vegetables to Russia. The country ranked first in supplies of fresh and chilled tomatoes.

Russia also played a prominent role in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict resolution. The trilateral peace deal signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, ended the 30-year conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Azerbaijan’s Karabakh that along with seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the 1990s.

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Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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