The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Tuesday the Lapis Lazuli Corridor Agreement will be signed between the five affected nations on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Turkmenistan.
The agreement will be signed between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
“The Lapis Lazuli Corridor agreement is one of the most important agreements in the region. Trade expansion in the region, regional connectivity, resolving transit and trade problems will be the long-term impact of this corridor,” MoFA Economic Cooperation Director Hassan Soroosh said.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said Lapis Lazuli Corridor is the nearest and cheapest way to transit Afghanistan’s and Asian countries’ goods to Europe.
According to ACCI, using the corridor, Afghanistan goods will travel through Turkmenistan, across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, then Georgia, across the Black Sea and through Turkey to the Mediterranean and Europe.
“Goods will be transited by railway. It is a new way that will directly connect Afghanistan to Europe,” ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozay said.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said 80 percent of goods to Europe will be done by railway and also across the Caspian and Black sea by ship.
“Lapis Lazuli Corridor is an important route for us and the discussions have almost been finalized between the five nations in this regard,” Musafir Quqandi, commerce and industries ministry’s spokesman said.
Meanwhile a number of economic affairs analysts said the Lapis Lazuli Corridor has resolved Afghanistan’s dependency on the neighboring countries in terms of transit and transportation.
“Afghanistan will get rid of economic and transit dependency which has always caused suffering,” economic affairs analyst Abdul Wase Haidari said.
Lapis Lazuli Corridor starts from Torghandi and Aqina ports and then takes the new route to Europe.