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Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan announce plans for ambitious 'North-South Transit Corridor'

Aug 08, 2016

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan have vowed to work together to prepare the grounds for the construction of a North-South Transit Corridor (NSTC) which is expected to provide a faster and more efficient trade connectivity between Europe and South East Asia.

The three countries announced in a joint statement at the end of a summit of their presidents in Baku that they will take the required measures for the materialization of the NSTC with the ultimate objective to exploit the economic opportunities that it creates.

The statement was read out after the summit in which Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev had participated.

The three presidents also emphasized that their respective countries will try to increase their own shares in efforts to create the NSTC “based on their common interests”.

The NSTC is a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.

The ship, road and rail route connects India’s Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bander Abbas and further to Baku in Azerbaijan as well as Astrakhan, Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia before stretching to northern Europe and Scandinavia.

Besides Iran, India and Russia, countries that are on board to integrate into the transit network include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Tajikistan, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria.

Dry runs of the route were conducted in 2014, from Mumbai to Baku and Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas. Results showed transport costs had been reduced by $2,500 per 15 tons of cargo.

The NSTC was a central theme in the summit of Putin, Rouhani and Aliyev.

“Our talks will focus on a flagship project – the International North–South Transport Corridor with a total length of 7,200 kilometers,” Russia's Putin quoted as saying by the media before leaving for Baku.

“It aims to provide the best possible opportunities for transporting transit cargo from India, Iran, and the Persian Gulf states to Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and further to northern and western Europe,” he said.

The three presidents also agreed to cooperate over the area of natural gas industry. They said in their statement that they will specifically work together over the transfer of technology as well as the shipment and delivery of gas.

Putin, Rouhani and Aliyev also voiced support for efforts to connect the power grids of their respective countries – what they said would contribute to the sustainable development of the region.

Banking issues was also a key area that the three countries said they stand ready to work together as a necessary move specifically needed for plans to attract investments and bring in new technologies for their development projects.

Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan announce plans for ambitious 'North-South Transit Corridor'
Presidents of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia

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