Tbilisi, The Gulf Observer: Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov, who is on a working visit to Georgia, has participated in the opening ceremony of the 4th Tbilisi Silk Road Forum.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Ali Asadov emphasized that amid the recent global changes, challenges resulting from economic cooperation and transport links clearly show the importance of the forum for the region and the whole world. PM Ali Asadov said that Azerbaijan and Georgia continue to play the role of a bridge between Europe and Asia in economic and trade relations.
“Azerbaijan and Georgia were among the first countries to support the concept of restoration of the Great Silk Road in the late 1990s. Former President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze was the first to join the initiative of National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to hold an international conference on restoration of the historic Silk Road and that prestigious conference was held in Baku in 1998 with the participation of the heads of state of 9 countries, 13 international organizations and delegations of 32 countries. Following the conference, the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-the Caucasus – Asia Corridor” was signed based on the TRACECA Program of the European Union,” Ali Asadov underlined.
Highlighting the work done by Azerbaijan for the development of the regional transport corridor, the Prime Minister emphasized that positive results had been achieved. He said that time of delivery from Kazakhstan to Georgian ports have decreased significantly compared to previous years. “The target for the next year is to reduce this period by almost half (11-15 days). This corridor will also become one of the most secure and efficient corridors worldwide. The potential of the Middle Corridor is closely linked to the capacity of ports and railways. In this regard, active work is being done to increase the capacity of Baku International Sea Trade Port, which is one of the largest commercial ports in the Caspian Sea, from 15 million tons to 25 million tons per year. The Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi are also important elements of the Middle Corridor. At the same time, the expansion of Azerbaijan’s Kulevi port, located on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, will also contribute to the Middle Corridor,” the PM underscored.
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov said that railways are being modernized in Georgia, ports are being built and expanded, road infrastructure is being developed. “Creating a new port infrastructure is on the agenda of Azerbaijan-Georgia cooperation, and the Azerbaijani side is ready for cooperation in this regard as well. Azerbaijan has the biggest fleet in the Caspian Sea. The Baku Shipyard successfully fulfills orders for the construction and repair of ships of various purposes that meet the most modern requirements, and active work is underway to increase the plant’s capabilities and expand the civil fleet,” the Prime Minister emphasized.
PM Ali Asadov pointed out that the new realities in the region create conditions conducive for multilateral cooperation in the region to reach a qualitatively new level, and will yield economic and commercial dividends to all the countries of the region.
The Prime Minister noted that the joint projects of Azerbaijan and Georgia have made an important contribution to Europe’s energy security. He said in the future, the volume of Azerbaijani gas transported to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor will be doubled, and at the same time, the construction of a green energy bridge to Europe has begun.
Prime Minister Ali Asadov expressed his confidence that the discussions and decisions to be made during the forum would contribute to the development of the Great Silk Road, and would facilitate the expansion of regional cooperation in economic, energy, transport and other areas.