Envoy: Development of corridors to increase Azerbaijan’s and Kazakhstan’s importance in global logistics


Relations with the fraternal Turkic countries have been rapidly developing in recent years, both on a multilateral and bilateral basis. Azerbaijani-Kazakh relations are no exception; this is proven by the high level of political contacts, economic relations and large-scale regional projects, such as the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, or as it is also called the Middle Corridor, the creation of a fiber-optic communication line, etc.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, Alim Bayel, spoke in an interview with Report about the achievements in the development of bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and plans for the future.

- Dear Mr. Ambassador, how would you assess the results of the past year from the point of view of Azerbaijani-Kazakh cooperation?

- 2023 was a very successful year. In general, over the last period, relations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have reached a qualitatively new level; it is enough to note that there are no unsolvable issues between our states. Of course, the established trusting dialogue between Presidents Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Ilham Aliyev is the key to such constructive interaction.

Bilateral trade turnover in January-October last year amounted to $465 million, which is 22% higher than in the same period of the previous year. In 2023, the level of our mutual trade reached a record level. But, of course, this is not the limit.

The flow of tourists in both directions is growing significantly. Thus, in 2023, almost 60,000 people arrived from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, which means an increase of 90%. Almost every second tourist visiting Azerbaijan from Central Asia is Kazakh.

- You mentioned the Middle Corridor. The president of Kazakhstan previously stated that cargo transportation on this route can be increased five times. What steps is Kazakhstan taking in this direction? How do you assess the role of Azerbaijan?

- Kazakhstan is interested in the development of this corridor, also known as the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR). There are already impressive results. Thus, the total volume of transportation along the TITR route in January-November 2023 amounted to 2,523 tons, which is 107% more than in the same period in 2022.

Kazakhstan continues to develop its transport infrastructure, builds new railways and roads, and expands the capabilities of the ports of Aktau and Kuryk.

- Recently, the president of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev gave an interview, which to some extent can be called a program interview. He also said that he does not intend to run for the next presidential term.

- Indeed, the president of Kazakhstan gave a rather frank interview, in which, among other things, he shed light on some pages of our recent history.

First of all, the head of state noted the achievements of Kazakhstan. Work is underway to diversify and demonopolize the economy, modernize infrastructure, support business and attract investment. The salaries of health workers and teachers have been increased. A law has been adopted regulating contributions to children from the National Fund.

- What would you wish for the Azerbaijani people in 2024? What are the prospects for our cooperation?

- I wish our Azerbaijani brothers all the best, happiness, prosperity, and most importantly, peace. Last year, Azerbaijan completely restored its territorial integrity and, I think, the country is only in a constructive mood. Azerbaijan is expecting presidential elections in February. I wish that they become the basis for further progressive development.

Using the formulation of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as progressive nations we look forward with confidence. I think that it is our strategic tandem that is largely capable of transforming the entire region.