Consensus for implementing rail and road corridor over Aras

Consensus for implementing rail and road corridor over Aras
As a new transport link between the East Zangezur economic region of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through Iran's territory, the construction of Aghband road bridge over Aras River was formally kicked off during the visit of Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development to Azerbaijan while the MoU for a railroad bridge was also reached.

Development, Mehrdad Bazrpash, in his visit to Azerbaijan on October 6, met with Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Shahin Mustafayev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan in order to launch joint transport projects and discuss regional initiatives for stability and peace in the South Caucasus.

Speaking of the peaceful Caucasus, Bazrpash called for the necessity of developing transport and transit cooperation to reach the target of 15 million tons transit by 2030. 

To this end, the formal ceremony for the construction of a bridge over Aras River as well as border and customs infrastructure in the area near Aghband settlement of the Zangilan district was kicked off. 

This project dates back to September 2022 when the two sides embarked on launching this project at Iran and Azerbaijan border in the Aghbend Region. 

Now as a transit route, the Aras Corridor will form Azerbaijan-Iran-Nakhchivan Corridor by linking East Zangezur Region in Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through Iran's territory. The Corridor stretches from Aghband to Jolfa and is important for Azerbaijan, Iran and the region as a whole.

The construction of this bridge will expand bilateral relations and freight transit between Iran and Azerbaijan and in the region.

The length of bridge is 220 m and the width is about 25 m which will be completed and operational within a year.

Once construction is complete, the number of vehicles that will pass through the border checkpoint will grow to 1,100 per day, According to Bazrpash. 

Aliyev said that this transit corridor would contribute to the further strengthening of friendly relations between the two countries.

Additionally, besides the highway bridge, the MoU for building a railroad bridge alongside road bridge is signed by Bazrpash and Mustafayev. 

Ilham Aliyev underlined the construction of roads and railways connecting the two countries was of great importance for the region and would serve stability and cooperation for the entire region.

The Azerbaijan President also noted the significance of the work carried out towards the development of the International North-South transport corridor (INSTC) and further expansion of its capacity. Similarly, Bazrpash pointed to the trilateral statement between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia as a comprehensive road map signed in September 2022 in Baku which facilitates increased transit and completion of the Corridor.

President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the importance of addressing regional issues with the participation of countries of the region, noted that Azerbaijan had initiated cooperation in a 3+3 format, and described the fact that meetings would soon be held in this format as a positive step.

Bazrpash also called for the impoundment of Khodaafarin Dam 240 kilometers northeast of Tabriz city, between Khadafarin Bridge and Sarijalu Village. 

The head of Iran, Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission further emphasized on the promotion of oil and gas swap with the cooperation of Turkmenistan.

In July 2023, the heads of Iran and Azerbaijan Joint Economic Commission met in Astara where they discussed different bilateral agendas for increased trade and transit and reached some agreements.

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