Aliyev stresses importance of Iran's rail network for region

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (MNA) – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said the importance of Iran's railway network in the north-south corridor, calling on Armenian to seize the opportunity and join the Iran railway netwrok which also crosses Azerbaijan.

Speaking during an interview with the Italian "Il Sole 24 Ore" newspaper in Brussels, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that oil and gas will play an important role for his economy for many decades ahead. 

He added that his government is transforming Azerbaijan into Eurasia’s transportation hub, while expressing hope that relations with Armenia also will be normalized.

"The efforts of the European Commission are aimed at facilitating the normalization process between Azerbaijan and Armenia. And we highly value the efforts of the Commission and President Michel in particular," Aliyev said 

He added that in meeting with the EU Commission president they discussed the practical elements of the post-war situation, particularly the opening of communications.

"This is an important part of the trilateral statement which was signed by President of Russia, Prime Minister of Armenia and myself last November. But implementation of this important part of the statement is going very slow. So, yesterday the important decisions were made about the immediate activity by Armenia in order to start practical implementation of the railroad project. As far as we are concerned, we already started."

He added, "The railroad from liberated territories to Armenian border must be ready by the end of 2023. We of course, hope that by that time Armenia will complete their part of the homework."

The Azeri president further noted, "We need to have good relations first of all with our neighbors. Because without having these relations no country can become a transit country. Therefore, good regional cooperation environment, plus, investments in transportation infrastructure created this opportunity....We already became a transitor for goods from Central Asia. China is also transporting its good to the European destinations. Plus, another advantage is that Azerbaijan is situated on the North-South Transportation Corridor which goes from Northern Europe, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and further down to Persian Gulf. And all the construction work, whether its railroad or highway on Azerbaijani segment of the North-South have been already completed.

Aliyev also said,"Of course, after the second Karabakh war, the opportunity to open a new corridor which is already called everywhere as Zangazur Corridor which goes from Azerbaijan to Armenia, and then to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic further down to Turkey and Europe which will be an alternative route for transportation...And we hope that this geographic location, already diversified transportation network will help us to attract investors who would prefer to work there. So, the transportation sector will become one of the leading after the energy sector and investment in this component, of course, brings a lot of benefits."

"And good relations with all our neighbors. Plus, we hope that relations with Armenia also will be normalized as we discussed yesterday with Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Michel. And then Armenia also will have a chance to become part of the regional transportation network, because now it is a deadlock. It doesn’t have a railroad connection with Russia, it will have, it doesn’t have a connection with Iran railroad, it will have, through Azerbaijan. And Azerbaijan through Armenia will go to its Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. It is a win-win situation. I think an understanding of this golden opportunity really must come to Armenia, so that they behave in a more active way and do not hesitate to engage with us in these future plans," Aliyev concluded.

KI/

News Code 181923

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