Nazarbayev, Rouhani and Berdimuhamedow open 'new Silk Road'
The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have participated in the opening ceremony of the Uzen-Beket-Goran railroad, Tengrinews reports citing the press office of Akorda.
President Nazarbayev congratulated Rouhani and Berdimuhamedow on the completion of the railroad construction.
The new railway line, according to the President of Kazakhstan, opens grand prospects and opportunities for the region's economy. “The importance of the regional market and that of the products oriented towards the Asian markets will now increase for our countries,” Nazarbayev added. The President of Kazakhstan added that new railway line opened new possibilities for economic cooperation with China and Russia.
The President of Turkmenistan also spoke about the economic benefits of the railway and its social importance. “A great amount of work has been done in 7 years. Now this road will strengthen our friendly and neighbourly relations,” Berdimuhamedow said.
President Rouhani stressed the importance of the new railway line for the development of trade and cooperation between the countries. “It is important to develop communication between the three countries. This railway line that connects three countries provides access to the Persian Gulf, Russia and China,” Rouhani said.
After ceremoniously placing the final section of the track at the border of Turkmenistan and Iran, Nazarbayev, Rouhani and Berdimuhamedow went to Iran for a meeting. They discussed development of transportation and logistics, including construction of logistics centers, new highways and railways, dwelt on cross border cooperation, creation of free economic zones and facilitating investments.
Nazarbayev, Rouhani and Berdimuhamedow agreed to create an executive committee that would work on the development of trade and research transportation and logistics potential of the new railway line. After the meeting, the Presidents have a news briefing for the media, where they expressed confidence that development of the relations and ties between the countries had to continue.
President Nazarbayev noted the importance of the modern infrastructure in the region. “We have virtually created a new Silk Road running across our three countries and China towards the Pacific Ocean,” Nazarbayev said.
In addition, according to the presidents, the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway line had already brought economic benefits to the countries and could meet the transportation demand of the mutual trade. “Last year, Kazakhstan supplied 1 million tons of wheat to Iran, while the demand in the Persian Gulf countries amounts to around 9-10 million tons. We plan to supply steel, mineral fertilizers and other Kazakhstani products. And we will be buying goods we need from Turkmenistan and Iran,” President of Kazakhstan said.
Kazakhstan also proposed supplying locomotives, cargo and passenger rail cars to Iran and Turkmenistan.
The Presidents of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran agreed that the new railway line would positively affect the development of the whole region.
The 900-km-long railway link constructed through concerted efforts of the nations involved runs from the Kazakhstan’s steppe across Turkmen Karakumy desert to the mountainous Gulistan province in the North of Iran. The project was bolstered by the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.
The agreement on construction of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway link was signed by the three leaders back in 2007, the actual construction works commenced in 2009.
Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina
- Nursultan Nazarbayev