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Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway stands for new Eurasian bridge

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 1
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will connect the Caucasus countries as well as the East with the West, was officially opened late on October 30 by the leaders of five nations.

Giving his speech at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that it came as no surprise that so much attention was paid to the project, “which is designed to step up the development of our countries, cement and expand their economic and trade ties, which makes it a highly stability-oriented endeavor.”

“The geostrategic location of our countries gives us unique possibility to serve as a bridge connecting Europe and Asia, which is why I am convinced that the new railway will drastically change the current economic reality and will put in place brand new conditions for development both in the region and beyond,” Kvirikashvili stated.

Kvirikashvili stated that the launch of the new railway line will bring about the development of complementary infrastructure, simplifying the process tapping into new markets and promoting the development of the tourism and processing industries, and creating new jobs, all of which is a precondition to the region's sustainable economic development and progress.

“I would like to emphasize that the advancement of one of our countries ensures the development, stability, and security of the others. Today, we not only bring together our economies and trade potential but also connect one another to the world's largest markets,” the PM stated.

Kvirikashvili stated that his government wanted Georgia to make its contribution to the cause of reviving the Silk Road and implementing the One Road-One Belt initiative.

“I am convinced that the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway will play a significant role to this end,” stated Georgian PM.

In his speech, Kvirikashvili noted that on November 28-29, Tbilisi will host the Belt and Road International Forum, which will gather representatives of governmental and private sectors from more than forty countries.

“Such a large-scale meeting will enable us to reaffirm the importance of said corridor and, of course, that of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, which makes the engagement of the countries present here so invaluable,” Kvirikashvili said.

The Azerbaijani and Turkish Presidents, the Prime Ministers of Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and ministers of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, participated in the BTK railway opening ceremony.

Initially the railway is expected to carry nearly 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight annually before unlocking a freight transportation potential of up to 50 million tons per year.

The length of this railroad is approximately 850 kilometers, 504 kilometers of which go through Azerbaijan.

The BTK railway began to connect Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish railways in 2008 and gained foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.