Azerbaijan begins building corridor to Nakhchivan via Iran - media
BAKU. Oct 6 (Interfax) - A ceremony for laying the foundation of a road bridge and border and customs infrastructure between Azerbaijan and Iran took place near Aghbend in the Zangilan region on Friday; the facilities will boost cargo transit through both countries and will facilitate traffic to and from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the Azerbaijani state-run news agency Azertac said.
Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash attended the ceremony.
The road bridge is being built in line with the memorandum of mutual understanding between the governments of Azerbaijan and Iran on developing new transport links between the East Zangezur economic region of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Iran, the agency said.
A road to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will run through Iranian territory over bridges that will be built near Aghbend in the Zangilan region and in the Nakhchivan region, Mustafayev said.
A bridge project is ready, and the Araz river's bank has been restored to return the river to its bed, he said.
The new road and the border and customs infrastructure will boost cargo transit via both countries and will facilitate traffic to and from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, speakers at the ceremony said.
Once construction is complete, the number of vehicles that will pass through the border checkpoint and the seven-lane road bridge on a daily basis will grow to 1,100, in addition to 30 buses and 15,000 passengers, Mustafayev said.
"The road will also serve as a transit route. This is important for Azerbaijan, Iran and the region as a whole. The infrastructure is crucial for the East Zangezur economic region. Ultimately, the region will become a logistics hub," he said.
Besides the highway, there are plans to build a railroad bridge in the region. The project will be completed within a year, Mustafayev said.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attributed a special significance to reconstruction on the freed territories and the effective use of their potential, he said.
"Large-scale programs are being implemented in those territories. A road between Horadiz and Aghbend is being built, and railroad infrastructure is being restored. This will expand the region's transit capacities. Steps are also being taken to improve access to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and to facilitate cargo traffic. An agreement with Iran has been reached for this purpose," Mustafayev said.