‘Short­est Asia-Europe rail link’ launched in Azer­bai­jan

Kuwait Times - - Business -

ALYAT, Azer­bai­jan: Azer­bai­jan, Ge­or­gia and Turkey yes­ter­day launched a rail link be­tween the coun­tries aimed at cut­ting to­tal jour­ney times from China to Western Europe while by­pass­ing Rus­sia. The 826-kilo­me­tre (500-mile) rail­road runs from Azer­bai­jan’s cap­i­tal Baku via the Ge­or­gian cap­i­tal Tbil­isi to the city of Kars in Turkey. It will help to re­duce the jour­ney time be­tween China and Europe, Azer­bai­jan’s Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev said at the launch cer­e­mony in the town of Alyat in the oil-rich Cau­ca­sus na­tion. “The Baku-Tbil­isiKars rail­road is the short­est and most re­li­able link be­tween Asia and Europe,” Aliyev said.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and Ge­or­gian Prime Min­is­ter Giorgi Kvirikashvili also at­tended the open­ing. After de­part­ing China, trains will cross Cen­tral Asian coun­try of Kaza­khstan be­fore be­ing trans­ported by ferry across the Caspian Sea to­wards Baku and then head­ing to Western Europe via Ge­or­gia and Turkey. “The open­ing of the Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way is a major step in trans­port in­ter­con­nec­tions link­ing the Euro­pean Union, Turkey, Ge­or­gia, Azer­bai­jan, and Cen­tral Asia ... along the an­cient Silk Road,” the Euro­pean Union said in a state­ment, re­fer­ring to a his­tor­i­cal trade route from China. — AFP

BAKU: Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan (left) and Azer­bai­jan’s Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev (right), sym­bol­i­cally in­au­gu­rate the Baku Tbil­isi - Kars rail­way, at a cer­e­mony in Baku yes­ter­day. — AP

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