Azerbaijan and Turkey have started work on the design of the railway, which will connect Kars with Nakhchivan, Turkish Minister of Transport, Shipping and Communications Binali Yildirim said at a press conference at the third Caspian Forum in Istanbul on Thursday.
"The two presidents have instructed on this project implementation during the third session of the Supreme Council on Strategic Partnership between Azerbaijan and Turkey, held in Ankara in November," he said.
"The Kars- Susuz -Diludzhu- Nakhchivan railway project will take shape during the next meetings with the Azerbaijani side," Yildirim added.
Yildirim said that this project will become more important after commissioning the Baku -Tbilisi-Kars railway.
"There were some delays with the project implementation connected with technical issues," he said. "In particular, there were problems with control issues on the Turkish- Georgian border. It will partially pass through the railway tunnel. All these issues were resolved. Of course, the problems with political and financial support for the project are out of the question. The railway line will be commissioned in 2014."
The length of Kars-Susuz-Diludzhu-Nakhchivan will amount to 223.6 kilometers, according to the preliminary data.
It is planned to construct a new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda section will be reconstructed in Georgia, which will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. 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 at the initial stage.
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) is blockaded due to Armenia's occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories. Communication with NAR is implemented either by air or by road through Iran.
The Minister also talked about the significance of the Caspian Sea to which this forum was dedicated. He believes that against the background of changes in the global economy, the role of this region will increase in the world.
The third Caspian Forum organized by the Caspian Strategic Institute (HASEN) brought together the senior officials, representatives of companies and leading experts from all over the world.
The projects in the spheres of energy, transport, and finance in the Caspian Sea region are being discussed and the opportunities for future cooperation will be studied at the forum.