Kazakhstan supports TRACECA
By Aynur Karimova
Kazakhstan fully supports the international program of cooperation in transport sector TRACECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia), TRACECA National Secretary in Azerbaijan Akif Mustafayev told Trend Agency on May 26.
Commenting on Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's recent proposal to establish a new high-speed multi-modal transport route from Asian to European countries, he noted that in this instance the route studied provisions to go through Russia.
"Kazakhstan has a definite advantage in geopolitical terms. It is located between China and Russia and also between China and the Caspian Sea, which gives it an opportunity of choice of routes. At the same time, Kazakhstan fully supports TRACECA, it is a member of the Basic Multilateral Agreement, and a TRACECA office operates there. It shows interest in the program," he added.
Meanwhile, it is more convenient for Kazakhstan to work through Russia, Mustafayev believes.
"Kazakhstan and Russia are members of the Customs Union, where there are discounts for members, and favorable attractive conditions are created. Consequently there are no obstacles vis a vis our project. Certainly, Kazakhstan is not going to abandon TRACECA. The case is really to establish where it is easier to work," Mustafayev noted.
TRACECA has a number of advantages over a possible corridor through Russia.
"If we consider the distance factor, TRACECA is 2.5 times shorter than the corridor through Russia. Another advantage is that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway corridor is being built, which will create non-transshipment carriage of container cargo from China to Western Europe. One more advantage is that a new international sea trade port is being constructed in Alat settlement, which will be the most powerful port in the Caspian basin and the region as a whole," he said.
The TRACECA program was launched at a conference in Brussels in May 1993. It brought together trade and transport ministers from the original eight TRACECA countries. Nowadays the program includes 12 countries.
Currently, TRACECA member countries are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Iran.