Azerbaijan and Georgia have come to a complete understanding on all issues on the agenda of the Coordinating Council for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said following a meeting in Tbilisi on Wednesday.
"The most important thing in today's agenda is approving the budget for the Georgian section, which will amount to $ 175 million this year," Mammadov said.
He said after the improvement of weather conditions, work will continue rapidly, trains will be running on this line by the end of the year. "We have been promised and we believe that this will be fulfilled," Mammadov said.
The minister noted that Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are ready to fulfill their obligations under the project.
The Minister stressed that a trilateral meeting of the Coordinating Council will be held in Istanbul on February 22.
Azerbaijan provided a $775 million loan for construction of the Georgian section.
Funding for this project from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is carried out according to a presidential decree on the "Implementation of measures within Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project" dated February 21, 2007.
It is planned to construct a new 105-kilometre branch railroad as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the section of the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway will be reconstructed in Georgia which will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. It is planned to build a centre in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing train tracks in Georgia to the European one.
Peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo. This figure will be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in the initial stages./Trend/