By Shadi Khan Saif
A landmark transport corridor was inaugurated on Thursday linking landlocked Afghanistan with Turkey for trade via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
The Lapis Lazuli project makes Afghanistan “not only the gateway to the Indian subcontinent, but once again the gateway to the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Europe,” Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president, told a ceremony in the western city of Herat.
After decades of isolation, he added, “today Afghanistan is reaching out. Afghans are people of connectivity, not separation.”
He also thanked the Turkish, Turkmen, Azeri, and Georgian leadership for their support in making the project a reality.
Speaking at the occasion, Turkey's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Oguzhan Ertugrul, said the corridor -- made mostly of rail and highways -- would not only boost regional
Beginning in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province and Turqundi in Herat, the corridor continues to Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan and after crossing the Caspian Sea, links to the Azerbaijani capital Baku to Tbilisi and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti.
After connecting with Kars in eastern Turkey, it proceeds to Istanbul and ends in Europe.
The corridor connects with Turkey’s Middle Corridor Project (East-West Trans-Caspian Trade and Transport Corridor) and complements other regional transport corridors, such as the Five Nations Railway Corridor.
The first consignment, carrying cotton, raisins, sesame seeds
Named after Afghanistan’s precious gemstone, the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was signed last year in Turkmenistan.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.