MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. The integration of Iranian and Azerbaijani railroads within the north-south transport corridor opens up new prospects of the transit potential of Russia and Azerbaijan, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
"Consolidation of Iran's and Azerbaijan's railway infrastructure under the International North-South Transport Corridor project would offer new prospects for using Russia's and Azerbaijan's transit traffic capacities to their full extent," Putin said in an interview with Azerbaijani State News Agency AZERTAC.
At the invitation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan will gather for the first time in Baku on August 8 "to discuss the prospects for developing long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation that would span diverse areas: from economic and humanitarian ties to security and the fight against terrorism," Putin said.
"Our talks will focus on a flagship project - the International North-South Transport Corridor with a total length of 7,200 kilometers. It aims to provide the best possible opportunities for transporting transit cargo from India, Iran, and the Gulf States to Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and further to Northern and Western Europe," the Russian president said.
In 2015, the overall cargo traffic along the International North-South Transport Corridor involving Russia’s railroad company Russian Railways amounted to 7.3 million tons, exceeding the level reached in 2014 by 4.1%, or by 0.3 million tons, Putin said.
Other promising areas for cooperation include the implementation of strategic investment projects in the energy sector and the transport infrastructure, the Russian leader said.
There are also opportunities for expanding trade in the services, including those in tourism, healthcare and education, Putin added.
"Indeed, the trilateral dialogue will also cover the Caspian issue," the Russian leader said as he spoke about the upcoming trilateral meeting in Baku.
In recent years, the Caspian Sea states have made headway in reaching a consensus on matters related to various aspects of cooperation in the Caspian Sea, including the use of its energy and biological resources. Relevant agreements were signed and are now being successfully implemented. Work on the core Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea is nearing completion, the Russian leader said.