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Bulletine Politics 

2017 October 30 ( Monday )  14:53:28
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Русский Azərbaycan


Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Opening Ceremony Starts

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: The opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway started in the settlement of Alyat, 70 kilometers south-west of Baku.

The ceremony involves Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakintzhan Sagintayev, and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project was implemented on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey interstate agreement signed in 2007. Within the framework of the project, a railway line was built from the Akhalkalaki station in Georgia to the railway station in Kars, Turkey, 105 km long, of which 76 km are Turkish, and 29 km are Georgian territory. A station for changing wheel pairs 1,435 mm / 1,520 mm was also built in Akhalkalaki. The Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi section, 183 km, in Georgia was also reconstructed. The total length of BTK is 826 km.

At the first stage, BTK will transport 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo per year, and later the cargo traffic will reach 17 million tons and 2 million passengers per year.

The construction of the Georgian part was financed by Azerbaijan, which allocated two concessional loans to Georgia for a total of $ 775 million.

The maximum speed of trains along BTK will reach 120 km per hour. BTK is part of a more ambitious project for the new Great Silk Road connecting railways from Europe to China.

Under the program for the development of railways in Turkey, the underwater railway tunnel Marmaray was built under the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul. It provides direct communication with the pan-European railway network.

The opening of BTK will allow for direct rail transportation (without transshipment of goods from one mode of transport to another). This will become an alternative to transportation on the ocean and will reduce the time of goods in transit by more than two times - up to 12-15 days.

Also in the context of the project, it is planned to build a railway from Kars to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. This will restore the railway communication of the autonomy with the rest of Azerbaijan, interrupted in the early 1990s due to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and the blockade of Nakhchivan by this state.

Armenia opposed BTK, proposing to use the existing branch connecting the railways of Turkey and Armenia, built back in the days of the USSR.

Now, after BTK is built, Armenia has begun to show interest in transport along this road. However, the project participants are unanimous in the belief that Armenia can gain access to BTK only after the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. -06d-

US Ambassador on Importance of BTK

Baku / 10/30/17/Turan: The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is another important step on the way to establishing better trade and ties along the whole of Eurasia, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta told journalists.

"We talked for a long time about the importance of the restoration of the Silk Road and we believe that today"s opening (of BTK) is an important step in this direction," Cekuta said.

He pointed in this context to the importance of the geographical location of Azerbaijan and Georgia. -16d06-

European Union Supports BTK

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: The European Union supports the new railway corridor. These investments, improvement of infrastructure and coordination of logistics will contribute to better communication, creating new business opportunities and increasing trade. This was stated by the EU mission concerning the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.

The launch of BTK is regarded as a big step in the development of the transport system connecting the EU, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Central Asia. The authors of the statement consider the opening of BTK as a step relevant to the Eastern Partnership objectives, as well as the EU"s Central Asia strategy.

The EU supports projects that improve the connection between neighboring partner countries and considers BTK to be a fast and reliable transport bridge between Europe and Asia along the Silk Road. -06D--

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Not to Replace Oil Revenues - Natig Jafarli

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: Azerbaijan as a financial sponsor of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will receive additional political dividends from the project and increase its political weight, the economist Natig Jafarli said.

On his profile in the social network Facebook, the expert noted the positive nature of the project in terms of additional links with the West. According to him, this project will also be an additional factor in strengthening relations with Georgia, which is a window to Europe. The project will also serve to increase the turnover with Turkey.

Touching upon the profitability of the project, Jafarli noted it is not attractive to international financial institutions and because of this Azerbaijan became the main construction donor, providing Georgia with an interest-free loan of $ 1 billion for 20 years.

"At first, the annual revenues from the project will not exceed 20-30 million dollars. Despite the fact that the project will be important from the point of view of regional cargo transportation, the realization of international cargo transportation through our country will be more difficult. Attractiveness should be ensured by rapid transportation from Beijing to London, but there are two obstacles: cargo must be transported across the Caspian by ferry, during which there may be difficulties due to weather conditions, as well as the presence of different railroad gauge between post-Soviet and European countries," Jafarli considers.

In his opinion, in order to compete with the already existing route China-Kazakhstan-Russia-Europe, it is necessary to pursue a policy of cheaper tariffs, which in turn is problematic.

"BTK will not bring financial dividends for many years and the return of funds should be expected in 25-30 years. If the government hopes that this project will somehow replace oil revenues, it is mistaken then," Jafarli said. -71D-

OSCE MG Co-chairs to Meet with Mammadyarov and Nalbandyan

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: Meetings between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia and the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will be held separately in mid-November.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov informed about this, AzerTaj reported.

After these meetings, it is expected to hold direct talks between the MFAs of the two countries, the Azerbaijani Minister said. -06D--

Famous Azerbaijani TV Presenter Rafig Huseynov Passed Away

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: A famous Azerbaijani TV presenter, Honored Artist, People"s Artist of Azerbaijan Rafig Huseynov passed away.

He suffered from lung cancer and spent a long time on treatment in clinics in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Germany and died at the clinic in Düsseldorf.

Rafig Huseynov was born in the Azerbaijani town of Shusha on August 4, 1946. For about 60 years he worked in the field of television and for a long time was the leading announcer and presenter of the Azerbaijani state television, and was also engaged in teaching activities.

Huseynov made a great contribution to the development of Azerbaijani TV journalism and training of TV personalities.

According to Huseynov"s family members, the body of the deceased will be delivered to Baku within two days. -06B--

Warm Weather to Continue One Day More

Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: On Monday, warm weather will remain in Baku and Absheron without precipitation against the background of the southern wind, the weather forecasters reported. The air temperature during the day will be + 20 + 25 degrees, and at night it will be + 14 + 16.

In the regions of the country, precipitation is not expected, except for a number of western regions. The air will warm up to +26 in the daytime in the lowlands and to +20 degrees in the mountains.

The sunny weather without precipitation will remain on October 31, but the air temperature will drop by 5-6 degrees, which will continue in the following days, Gismeteo reports. -02D-

Press Review 10/30/2017

The importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, the opening of which is expected today, the problems between banks and their clients, and the condition of the fixed capital are the leading topics of today"s press.

The newspaper Azerbaijan writes about the expected opening of the BTK railway and the significance of this road connecting Europe and Asia.

The author notes that the railway branch serves one of the goals of the Azerbaijani authorities: it is turning the country into a transit center. The author also recalls similar projects that serve this purpose, that is gas and oil pipelines.

The newspaper Echo published a report on the problems of Azerbaijani citizens with banks. The number of court proceedings related to banks and non-bank credit institutions is growing every month.

Banks appeal to the court due to the fact that their clients cannot repay their debts on loans. Over the past year, the number of problem cases on loans in the bailiff service has significantly increased. In several cases, the debtors have no property or anything else to pay off.

The newspaper Novoye Vremya writes about the level of foreign investment. So, according to official data, this year the total investments in fixed assets (that is, in production, construction, equipment, etc.) amounted to 11,090.8 million manat. During the same period of last year, the volume of investments amounted to 10,268.7 million manat. In other words, the nominal growth was 8%. -0----