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Romania, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia sign declaration on a freight route linking the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. ForMin Melescanu : Black Sea – Caspian Sea freight corridor plans in context of EU emphasis on connectivity

Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu and his counterparts from Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed on Monday a declaration on Romania’s commitment to a freight route linking the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The Romanian top diplomat remarked in this context the “special emphasis the European Union sets on connectivity”, which alongside the “impressive developments across the region in the area of freight connectivity and the modernization of port facilities” defines the backdrop the initiative was presented against.

He pointed out that the initialled declaration also expresses the common commitment to “rendering this project operational as soon as possible”.

The Black Sea – Caspian Sea freight corridor is a project launched by Turkmenistan and Romania aimed at creating an intermodal maritime, river, rail and road transport route between Central and Northern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, with a perspective to connect to the Asia-Pacific region, Melescanu said.

He explained that the route is based “on the geographic continuity of Romania, Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the facilities Romania’s Constanta Port, Georgia’s Port of Poti, the Baku Port of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan’s Port of Turkmenbashi have to offer, and on the direct connection between the Port of Constanta and the Danube and subsequently the water courses and internal channels on the European continent, which is favorable to transporting goods from Central and Northern Europe.”

The ForMin also spoke of Romania’s support for the EU’s Strategy for Central Asia, due to be adopted in June this year, during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

In his turn, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov said that the new format of interaction has good prospects.

Turkmenistan is developing its interaction with the EU in the transport sector. (…) The strategic goal of our country is to create a multimodal system of Euro-Asian transport corridors. We consider the Caspian Sea – Black Sea route to be an important segment thereof, the Turkmen official said.

Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov spoke about the role of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in promoting this project.

I think that reference to the Presidency of the EU Council and Romania’s EU membership will turn this project attractive to other EU member states, so that they use this freight corridor, he emphasized.

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, spoke about the geostrategic position of his country.

Georgia has already proven to be a reliable partner and an active participant in regional projects aimed at East – West transport. We want to strengthen Georgia’s role as a transport and logistics hub, to efficiently use Georgia’s geostrategic position, Zalkaliani pointed out.

Starting from the political support expressed in the Joint Declaration, the ministries in charge and the national agencies of the four states will set up an expert working group tasked with identifying and addressing all technical issues.

On the sidelines of the quadrilateral meeting, the Romanian Foreign Minister had bilateral meetings with his three counterparts, with the sides reviewing on the occasion the stage of relations, including in the light of Romania’s holding the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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