By Vusala Abbasova
Afghanistan will be able to utilize the capabilities of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, which is set to launch in the near future.
This announcement was made by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in a recent meeting with his Afghan colleague Salahuddin Rabbani, Trend reported.
Despite of the absence of a direct route to the BTK railway, Afghanistan may use regional transport roads as a way to increase cargo traffic and develop trade and economic cooperation generally.
The BTK railway would create favorable opportunities for Afghan products to enter world markets, reviving and contributing to the sustainable development of Afghanistan’s economy.
The BTK project is being financed by Azerbaijan's state oil fund SOFAZ and slated for completion this year.
The corridor’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At its initial stage however, railway will transport million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
The representatives of the both sides highly evaluated the development of bilateral relations in such spheres as transport, energy, education, and others, during the meeting.
The sides also discussed the importance of a range of energy and transport projects in the region, such as the TAPI project and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway line.
Discussing the great importance of security and road construction, Mammadyarov highlighted the necessity for Afghanistan to conduct activities with countries of the region and with international financial institutions.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s ex-President Hamid Karzai said that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project would be a good alternative for his country to connect Afghanistan with Europe. At the moment, Afghanistan has transport routes through Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Azerbaijan has always shown a willingness to continue supporting fraternal Afghanistan in developing transport, energy, and information and communication technologies.
Ashraf Shikhaliyev, the head of the Azerbaijan International Development Agency under the Foreign Ministry recently announced that Azerbaijan renders financial assistance to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund and plans to give scholarships to Afghan specialists and students for the development of human capital in Afghanistan.
Azerbaijan has been committed to aiding and contributing to Afghanistan’s growth over the past 13 years.
Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan were established on November 16, 1994. The Azerbaijani ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the current acting ambassador to Afghanistan. The embassy of Afghanistan in Azerbaijan opened in November 2012.
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