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Georgia, 4 Other Countries Sign Long-Awaited Trade Corridor Agreement

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, November 17
(ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan) – Amid a slew of international trade agreements that will reshape economic activity from Asia to Europe, Georgia and four other countries have signed a long-awaited agreement on the creation of a trade and transport corridor that will connect Afghanistan to the West via road, rail and sea.

Signatories Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia finalized the agreement in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Wednesday at the Seventh summit of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA).

The corridor will pass through Afghan commercial hubs in the Faryab and Herat regions, Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan, Baku, Azerbaijan, Tbilisi and Batumi in Georgia, before reaching its terminus in Istanbul.

Named after a semi-precious stone found in Afghanistan, The Lapis Lazuli Corridor is a modern extension of the ancient Silk Road that linked Near East to Europe

The Georgian delegation was led by Foreign Minister of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze, who also signed the agreement on Tbilisi’s behalf.

“We signed a very important multilateral agreement… This means more traffic through this corridor and new opportunities for our countries. For Georgia… this is an important step towards our policy that we are an active participant in regional transit projects,” said Janelidze.

While speaking at the summit, Janelidze highlighted the importance of regional co-operation and the great potential for developing trade relations with Afghanistan, as well as with other countries of the region.

“Georgia is a reliable partner and an important actor in the transport sphere. It is actively involved in all major strategic projects, including the Lapis Lazuli deal… I believe that the region’s future depends heavily on similar international projects,” Janelidze said when addressing the event’s participants.

Janelidze reiterated that Georgia’s place along existing and future trade corridors will be enhanced with the completion of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port.