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Turkey says interested in railway communications with Georgia 5 avril 2006

Posted by Acturca in Caucasus / Caucase, Turkey / Turquie.
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TASS – March 14, 2006 Tuesday 12:56 PM EST

Tengiz Pachkoria, TBILISI, March 14

Turkey is interested in establishing railway communications with Georgia and Azerbaijan, Turkish President Ahmed Necet Sezer, who is now making an official visit here, said Tuesday.

He said work continued to build a railway line linking the northeast Turkish city of Kars to the Azerbaijani capital Baku via Tbilisi.

Turkish officials would like the railway to be added to the list of other trilateral projects, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, Sezer told a news conference.

As he mentioned the Baku-Tbilsi-Ceyhan project, he said the first tanker will be loaded with Caspian oil in Ceyhan, a port in northeast Mediterranean, this summer.

Georgian and Turkish officials made first public declarations about plans of building a railway between Kars and the southern Georgian town of Akhalkalaki back at the end of the 1990's, and the two countries plus Azerbaijan have been
making resolute efforts in recent years to translate the project into life.

In May 2005, the presidents of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan said at a trilateral meeting in Baku it would make sense to create an international
transport corridor from Kars to Akhalkalaki to Tbilisi to Baku. They also said OK to a 98-kilometers-long railway between Kars and Akhalkalaki.

Of that distance, 68 kilometers will be located on Turkish territory and another 30, on Georgian territory.

The estimated construction cost stands between 400 million U.S. dollars and 450 million U.S. dollars.

The new transport corridor will make it possible to haul up to 3 million tons of cargoes a year. Crude oil is expected to make up most of that amount.

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