TRACECA

The ancient Great Silk Road is
the road leading to the future.
Heydar Aliyev

Azerbaijan carried out conjoint works with a number of world countries, European Union and other international cooperation and took an active part in the development and creation of the TRACECA program (http://www.traceca-org.org/) on the restoration of the Great Silk Road, (along with Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) - the founders of the TRACECA Program of the European Commission at a session held in Brussels in May of 1993. The conference defined and discussed the problems and shortcomings in the regional trade and transport systems. The Brussels Declaration that laid the foundation for the activity of the interregional program of TRACECA was adopted by the results of the conference.

Azerbaijan's participation in the TRACECA program is of strategic importance for our country and creates great capacities for the strengthening and expansion of economic relations between Azerbaijan and Europe, its integration into the world economics and the country's transformation into an international transport focus point. In frame of TRACECA program tens of technical aid and investment projects such Transport Management Training, Legal and Regulating Frame of Transport, Application of United Tariff System in TRACECA Transport Corridor, Simplification of Frontier Admission Procedures, Restoration of Caucasian Railways were implemented.

An international conference devoted to the restoration of the Great Silk Road was initiated by national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev who was deeply aware of the importance of transport sector development for Azerbaijan that had a favorable geostrategic position at the junction of the shortest transport routes communicating Europe and Asia. The conference held in Baku September 7-8, 1998 was attended by the leaders of 9 countries (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine), 13 international organizations and the delegations from 32 countries. Main Multilateral Contract on the international transport for the development of Europe-Caucasus-Asia corridor was signed on the basis of the TRACECA Program of the European Union and a Baku Declaration was adopted.

The contract was signed by the leaders of 12 countries-Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

Important works were carried out in the development of transport infrastructure for the fulfillment of the provisions of Main Multilateral Contract in frames of the TRACECA Program. A number of measures were undertaken for the improvement of the technical supply of transport sector, definite operations were carried out for the restoration and reconstruction of motor highways, railways and bridges, the repair of the railway transport means, vessels and airport mechanisms for the increase in the cargo transportation by the TRACECA transport corridor. An oil unloading port with the annual capacity of 10 million tons of oil products was commissioned in Baku. Reconstruction works on the ferry terminal of the International Trade Port of Baku were completed.

During realization of the Program European Union allocated nearly 16 million Euro to the Republic of Azerbaijan for funding of investment projects. Different financial institutions (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Economic Development Fund of Kuwait, Islamic Bank for Development, World Bank and others) allotted USD 255 million for the state structures of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the implementation of the aforementioned projects of the TRACECA program.

Restoration of the TRACECA program and the Great Silk Road is one of the greatest programs today and in XXI century. Assurance of multilateral development of this program will accelerate integration of South Caucasian and Middle Asian countries into Europe.

Cooperation in frame of the European Commission High Level Working Group on Transport

The European Commission High Level Working Group on Transport identified priority transport corridors and projects of Europe. TRACECA Transport Corridor that is of great importance for Azerbaijan was reflected in action of the Working Group. Horizontal issues, coordination of water transport nets, water transport security, satellite navigation system, air transport management, motorway security and transport means measurement issues were discussed in sittings of the Working Group and respective recommendations were given to the European Commission.

Cooperation within continuation of “Baku process”

In accordance with the principles of the Main Multilateral Contract, it was decided to establish Permanent Secretariat of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission in Baku and its opening ceremony took place on February 21, 2001. The ceremony was attended by President of Azerbaijan, national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev, Foreign Minister of Sweden, representative of the country chairing the European Union Anna Lind, Secretary General of the EU Council and the High Representative for the General Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and the Commissar of the European Commission for foreign affairs Christopher Patten. The President of Azerbaijan highly appreciated the works carried out by the European Union and aiming at the implementation of TRACECA program. At the same time he also stressed that Azerbaijan regards all that as the foundation laid for the future works.

Following 4 working groups were created as result of the Conference of Ministers of Transport and Energy of EU, Black and Caspian Seas Basin and Adjoining Countries (“Baku process”) held in Baku on November 13-14, 2004:

1. Working Group for Infrastructure

2. Working Group for Security

3. Working Group for Civil Aviation

4. Working Group for Motor and Railway Transport.

Duties of these working groups include identification of the priority regional infrastructure, technical support, innovation projects in the region of participant countries and solution of issues in connection with implementation of these projects. Every group held sessions in 2005 and results gained on issues discussed in these meetings will be reviewed in the next Conference of Ministers.

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