Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement

The road to Central Asia and the Caucasus, the path to regional prosperity #LapisLazuliRoute @RECCAfghanistan @mfa_afghanistan There are promising transit routes such as the Five Nation Railway project, the Four Nation Railway project, the Zyedan Delaram (Chabahar) road, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) between Afghanistan and China, the Afghanistan-India Air Corridor program. The Five Nation Railway project has the potential to make contact with China and Iran over a distance of 2100 kilometers and cross the countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The implementation of the multinational rail project is about 50% complete. The National Ring project, which is an important national strategic corridor, is helping to connect with other provinces in Afghanistan as well as its neighbours in Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting Ring Road nationally with $330 million. BRI is a regional trade and economic policy infrastructure platform that aims to establish ties between China and the rest of Eurasia, including through the ocean-based “Maritime Silk Road” and the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belts”. The Belt and Road Initiative between Afghanistan and China was signed in 2015. Work is ongoing. The Connectivity Trans-Hindukush Road has been underway and implemented since 2016. The objective of this corridor is to establish a link in the mountains of the Hindu Kush by building a road. The project is in the acquisition phase from 2016 to 2019.

In order to develop trade relations between Afghanistan and India, an air transport programme was launched in 2017. To date, more than 155 cargo flights have been exchanged between Afghanistan and India. The name of the transport corridor comes from the color of the mineral lapis lazuli which, in antiquity, was one of the main export products from Central Asia to the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Negotiations on the establishment of this new corridor date back to 2012 and have continued for five years due to a number of factors in the region, including insecurity (increasing domestic violence), economic instability throughout Central Asia and the legacy of poorly developed infrastructure networks in the Member States concerned. The Lapislazuli Route Transport and Transit Agreement was initiated by Wahidullah Waissi, then Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Economic Cooperation. The agreement aims to improve regional economic cooperation and connectivity between the countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, and thus develop economic and cultural relations between Europe and Asia. . . .

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