Baku, September 24, AZERTAC
Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeyhun Bayramov has made a statement at the Annual Ministerial Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries.
The statement reads: “At the outset, I would like to greet all participants and express my gratitude to the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan and new High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS for convening this meeting and their strong leadership. It is critically important at the period of pandemic to ensure support to the LLDCs to address social and economic consequences of the crisis and build back better.
We remain committed to the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and welcomed the adoption of the Roadmap for Accelerated Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs at the timely request of our distinguished Chair - Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan supports the initiatives targeted at stronger and more coherent coordination for the achievement of this Programme via dedicated mechanisms and resources. Meanwhile, we do hope that convening of the third UN Conference on LLDCs will enable to undertake comprehensive appraisal of LLDC process and result in a renewed vision on how to address emerging challenges.
Gains from trade and transport are unevenly distributed across regions and countries. Some countries — particularly the small, landlocked — remain largely outside the global trading system. Total investment in transport infrastructure is estimated to be US$144 billion in the 70 corridor economies. However, the trade and investments attracted by the corridor countries are well below their potential to absorb and generate value addition.
The development of efficient and reliable transit routes requires wide cooperation of the corridor countries. These transport corridors are not only infrastructure projects. They are also meant for promoting free trade, exchanging technology and innovation, and establishing mutually beneficial partnerships between countries along the corridor. In this sense, we call on all our partners, including the private sector, to fully exploit the potential of the corridors.
Over the past few years alone, Azerbaijan has invested billions of dollars in its transport infrastructure. Thanks to these steps, Azerbaijan now ranks 27th worldwide for the quality of roads, 11th for the efficiency of railway services and 12th for the efficiency of air transport services, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). With a throughput capacity of 6.5 million tons of cargo per year, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway makes it possible to reduce the time of transportation between China and South-Eastern Europe by 70%. Today the Baku international sea trade port’s cargo capacity is 10 million tons per year, including 100 thousand containers. Moreover, with over 260 vessels at its disposal, Azerbaijan also owns the largest commercial fleet in the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan has put a lot of efforts to build necessary infrastructure for the role of a logistics and transit hub, and this process continues nowadays.
The resolution of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict opens up new perspectives for regional cooperation, development and prosperity through normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The 10 November 2020 joint statement has been further complemented with a trilateral Azerbaijan-Russia-Armenia statement of 11 January 2021, which specifically deals with opening of communications in the region. Restoration of the communications is a win-win situation for all the partners and raises the importance of the wider Caspian Sea geography. The emerging transport hub in our liberated territories will strengthen the position of the entire South Caucasus within the scope of Trans-Eurasian transport projects. The new landline – the Zangazur Corridor between Azerbaijan and Turkey will serve as a supplement to the existing trade and transport connectivity.
In conclusion, let me reemphasize that initiatives of Azerbaijan, are the best examples of our interest and capacity to enhance the cooperation within the LLDCs. We stand ready to cooperate with our partners and support their initiatives for the common welfare of our peoples”.
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