The recent summit of Central Asian leaders in Dushanbe was graced by the presence of Azerbaijan's President, Ilham Aliyev, who highlighted the strong and enduring relationships between Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries founded on brotherhood and shared cultural heritage.
In his speech, Aliyev stressed the active cooperation between the independent states over three decades through bilateral and multilateral efforts, supporting each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and fostering economic ties. He also pointed out that Azerbaijan and Central Asia are the only historical and cultural geographic region with a growing economy, demography, and political potential, with significant strategic importance in global policy.
According to the President, Azerbaijan is a reliable transit hub for neighboring nations seeking entry to the European and Turkish markets. Furthermore, he highlighted that Azerbaijan's transportation and logistics infrastructure is also available to Central Asian countries for transit in the opposite direction.
President Ilham Aliyev emphasized Azerbaijan's dedication to developing profitable trade and investment partnerships with the region in his speech. He pointed out that the trade statistics have been escalating steadily, with Azerbaijan's trade turnover with Central Asia surging over three times in 2022 and by 50% this year.
In addition, Ilham Aliyev shared joint plans to implement projects in agriculture, engineering, shipbuilding, livestock production, horticulture, and tourism.
As stated by the President, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway modernization project is set to be completed by 2024. This development will lead to a notable rise in cargo transportation from 1 to 5mn tons annually.
The President also disclosed plans to expand the commercial port in Baku.
Aliyev emphasized the new initiative called "Digital Silk Road." This project aims to establish fiber-optic infrastructure and improve collaboration between Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries.