Mr Altai Efendiev, GUAM Secretary General, will participate in the RailFreight Summit (Poland) in September 2020, but he has already answered some questions from Online magazine «RailFreight.com».
We present to your attention the main points from the Interview of Ambassador Altai Efendiev, Secretary General of the Organization for Democracy & Economic Development – GUAM:
– General idea
«Existing and emerging new transport connections between the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea will shape a new diverse connectivity architecture, with opportunities for all the countries along the routes. The GUAM Transport Corridor should become an integral part of this new architecture. That is the common goal of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova, founding members of the regional organisation GUAM.
GUAM Transport Corridor, which is one of the flagship initiatives of the organisation, should contribute to improved connections between the four mentioned countries and Poland, hence the EU. It is a developing transport corridor that should reap the benefits of an already existing network of railway, road and short maritime connections and relevant infrastructure. It could potentially be one of the routes along of the Middle Corridor, and at the same time, an extension of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway link».
– Benefit Poland
«…Poland wants to ensure access to new markets both for national produce, as well as for transit goods on both West-East, as well as North-South routes».
– Eastern Partnership Programme
«…The expansion of the European TEN-T to the east, which is one of the top priorities of the comprehensive EU-EaP programme, opens up very promising opportunities and prospects for the development of close cooperation in this field. And Poland, as both an EU member and GUAM partner, could play a very important role here».
– Azerbaijan, a junction
«For over two decades, Azerbaijan has been positioning itself as a key transportation hub on the Caspian Sea. A lot has been invested in the modernisation of existing and development of new infrastructure, and now it is time to reap the benefits».
«I believe, when fully operational, GUAM Transport Corridor can also be considered as part of the Middle Corridor, with the possibility to exploit other attractive geographic dimensions and to provide connections to other corridors and routes».
«Turkey is already a major player on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line. Moreover, Turkey is our immediate neighbour and among major international players in our region with strong economic interests. All GUAM countries have developed strategic partnerships with Turkey and the country’s involvement and participation in the development of the GUAM corridor can be part of its success».
– Potential of Ukraine
«This corridor is important for Ukraine and its economy. Therefore, I am sure that we will see dynamic developments and significant improvements in the national transport and transit system. What also important to bear in mind is that Ukraine has signed the Association Agreement with the EU with very strict responsibilities, and reformation and modernisation of the transport sector is one of the key components of this agreement».
– What is next?
«Among the main objectives for 2020 is the preparation of the feasibility study of GUAM Transport Corridor. This will provide us with a clear development strategy. It should result in a clear understanding of what should be done at national and regional levels to eliminate or alleviate all the discrepancies, bottlenecks and differences in the respective countries…
…Our ultimate goal is to bring together all actors interested in the development of a safe, reliable and competitive transport/transit route connecting Europe with Central Asia, the Persian Gulf and beyond. We strongly believe that this will be to the benefit of the wider international community».
Interview with the GUAM Secretary General was prepared by Majorie van Leijen, Editor of RailFreight.com.