TODAY.AZ / Business

China joins Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project

27 August 2006 [12:41] - TODAY.AZ
Seen as an important bridge for the transfer of energy resources from Central Asia and the Caucuses to the rest of the world, Turkey is taking significant steps toward reinforcing its strategic position in the world.

With the construction of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway, originally brought to the agenda in 1960, Turkey will become a major transfer route between Asia and Europe.

Regarding the project, scheduled for launch in 2007, Zaman conducted an interview with Turkish Minister of Transport Binali Yildirim, who revealed that Kazakhstan and China have also joined the project.

When completed, the project will be a modern version of the Silk Road, enabling a person in Kars to reach Shanghai or Hong Kong via Kazakhstan.

The project, which will be linked to the Marmaray Project, will permit trains departing from Britain to reach China via Turkey non-stop.

The railroad venture will be completed in two years time and will transport 20 million tons of cargo annually.

Indicating that the former controversy between Turkey and Armenia stalled the project for years, Yildirim predicted the project would change the face of the region to a great extent, as well as improving general conditions.

Yildirim stressed that Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey were working together to overcome the difficulties negatively affecting the region's economy.

"The project will establish a direct link between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It is crucial that all shipping in the region will reach Europe and Asia via Turkey," explained Yildirim.

The transport minister informed Zaman that Turkey would be responsible for the construction of the 76-kilometer branch that leads to the Georgian border, while Georgia will undertake the construction of 25 kilometers of track within its borders.

Turkey's portion of the total cost of the railway project is expected to total $250 million when completed.

The project was previously shelved due to former Treasury Minister Kemal Dervis's refusal to guarantee funding.

/www.zaman.com/

URL: http://www.today.az/news/business/29417.html

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