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Russia plans to discuss with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan the construction of a highway along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, media reports.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin spoke with the agency on Friday.

 "On May 18, we will hold Kazan Forum, and we will discuss with our colleagues from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan the construction of the highway around the Caspian Sea, and maybe we will sign an agreement," he said.

This route could become part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), promoted by Russia, India, and Iran since 2000. Compared with the sea route through the Suez Canal, the distance of cargo transportation here is reduced by more than two-fold.

The "North-South" includes three routes.

The first route runs along the western shore of the Caspian Sea through Dagestan (Russia), Azerbaijan, and Iran, with access to the ports of the Persian Gulf, the markets of India, Pakistan, South-East Asia, the Persian Gulf, and Africa. These are currently the main export markets.

The second route is maritime and provides interconnection between the ports of the Caspian Sea states. The third route runs along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea from Russia through Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, with access to Iran.

Credits: Eziz Boyarov, Ashgabat

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