The conference on the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, held in Awaza on 28 November 2018 received strong support from the international and regional organizations.
Here is the speech of Victor Guminsky, the first deputy chairman of the executive committee and the executive secretary of the CIS:
Dear Mr. Chairman! Dear organizers and participants of the conference, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Allow me, first of all, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States and its Chairman, Sergei Nikolayevich Lebedev, to cordially welcome you and express appreciation for the invitation to participate in such a representative forum.
The fact that the initiatives of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Myalikguliyevich Berdimuhamedov in the field of transport found wide support at the UN General Assembly site and are now being practically implemented in international projects testifies to the recognition of a weighty role and authority of the country pursuing good-neighborly policies and openness to constructive cooperation.
The CIS Executive Committee, with interest, accepted the invitation to participate in this international conference. After all, the relevance of the subject matter considered on it is quite obvious, since the growing role of regions in the global world is one of the distinguishing features of modernity. On the other hand, the implementation of a coordinated transport policy aimed at creating an efficient transport and communication environment acts as a backbone factor for regional integration. For the Commonwealth, which has the Eurasian dimension, which is extremely important.
It is natural that cooperation in the transport sector at all stages of the CIS activities has been and continues to be one of the priorities in building up regional economic processes.
The long-term vision of the development of transport integration is defined by the provisions of the CIS Economic Development Strategy for the period up to 2020. Currently, in the framework of the third final stage of the implementation of this document, the main efforts of our countries are focused on completing the implementation of the Priority areas of cooperation in the field of transport for the period up to 2020.
They include, first of all, the elimination of infrastructural restrictions on key international transport routes; development of international transport corridors; the intensification of the interaction of all modes of transport in the format of multimodal transport; digitalization of transport processes and the development of logistic approaches.
Speaking about specific transport and infrastructure projects implemented in the CIS with the participation of the Caspian states, it can be noted that the eastern branch of the North-South transit transport corridor has been formed, which is based on direct rail links from Russia through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran’s railway network. The Serhetabad-Turgundi railway began to function. The reconstruction and construction of sections of international highways take place at the specified corridor.
It should be particularly emphasized that at the meeting of the Council of Heads of State held in Dushanbe on September 28, the leaders of our countries paid considerable attention to transport issues during the exchange of views.
Thus, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Heydarovich Aliyev focused on the fact that the operation of the North-South and East-West corridors opens up new transportation opportunities and good prospects for further strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, noted the need to intensify joint work towards using international and regional transport corridors and creating an integrated transport system in order to maximize the existing transit potential of the Central Asian region and the Caspian basin. In view of the above, the tasks solved in the region are correlated with the approaches carried out within the framework of the “Economic Belt of the Silk Road”, their importance to the activities of the entire Commonwealth. This was noted at the summit by the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander G. Lukashenko, proposing, in particular, to identify directions for connecting the capabilities of the CIS countries with the Silk Road project. In this context, I think it is possible to note that the “Lapis Lazuli” project can be rightfully viewed as a link of international transport routes, a real legal and organizational toolkit of sustainable transport cooperation.
Dear participants of the conference!
The current forum, initiated by Turkmenistan, is undoubtedly an important platform for exchanging views on top aspects of interstate cooperation on specific transport integration projects, working out plans for further strengthening integration processes in the transport sector in Eurasian and wider formats.
Next year, Turkmenistan will preside over the Commonwealth of Independent States. In the presented draft Concept of the Chairmanship, it is indicated that “the most important aspect of cooperation among the CIS countries, Turkmenistan sees the development of transport communication”. In particular, I intend to assist in enhancing cooperation in this area: “… Given the large potential of the transport and communication network of the Central Asian, Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic regions in order to effectively operate the North-South and East-West corridors.
We expect that Turkmenistan will introduce new proposals and initiatives that meaningfully fill the interaction of our countries in the field of transport. For its part, the Executive Committee, industry-specific bodies are ready to provide their full support for their implementation.
I think, I will express a general opinion, thanking our Turkmen friends for the great work in preparing today’s event. The excellent organization, the exceptionally warm atmosphere and the hospitality of the people of Turkmenistan will certainly contribute to the success of the conference.
I wish the forum participants constructive and fruitful work, close communication, the implementation of their plans. Thank you for attention.
For reference: the name Lapis lazuli, “Lapis Lazuli”, “Lapis lazuli” was chosen for the project, because it was along this path more than two thousand years ago that Afghan lapis lazuli and other semi-precious stones were delivered to the Caucasus, the Balkans, North Africa and Europe. /// nCa, 3 December 2018
To be continued . . .