Georgian PM, Kazakh counterpart discuss Middle Corridor route development

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday praised bilateral cooperation with Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of the further development of the Middle Corridor, a route connecting Central Asia and Europe via the South Caucasus, in a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Alikhan Smailov in Almaty.

Extending his gratitude for “warm reception and hospitality” during the visit, the head of the Georgian Government recalled the Kazakh official’s June trip to Tbilisi, where he said they had discussed “ambitious plans and potential projects”, including the “full-scale” operation of the Corridor, also known as the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.

He added the visit also involved the signing of a related roadmap, which Garibashvili called “important” in the development of the route.

The PM noted he also discussed the roadmap with Chinese officials during his visit to the country between July 27-31, adding “I believe our future cooperation will be as fruitful as it was before and is now”.

For his part, Smailov stressed his Government was attaching “great importance” to cooperation in transit and transport, and also said he welcomed partnership with Tbilisi over the development of the Corridor.

He also said the volume of cargo transportation through the route had increased by 77 percent over the past six months and reached 1.3 million tonnes.

The agreements reached during our last meeting have given an additional impetus to the development of the route”, Smailov said, adding “special importance” was given to digitisation, ensuring stable transportation rates and creating a single logistics operator along the Corridor.

Highlighting his Government’s interest in increasing the transport connectivity of the South Caucasus region, he also noted the transit and transport potential of Georgia.

Kazakhstan and Georgia are connected by “close and long friendly ties and multilateral cooperation”, the official added, expressing gratitude for a “very good atmosphere” during his Tbilisi visit, where he said his discussions with the Georgian PM had involved a “wide range of questions”.

I am pleased to note that a traditional and high-level interaction further strengthens bilateral ties”, Smailov said, adding his Government was ready to further strengthen partnership with Georgia “based on trust and respect”. “Georgia is an important and reliable partner of Kazakhstan in the South Caucasus region”, he added.

Pointing to the “dynamically developing” cooperation and “positive trends” in trade and economy, Smailov noted bilateral trade had increased by 30 percent over the past six months.

“In order to further increase our trade turnover [and] our trade volumes, I suggest that we use the possibilities of our intergovernmental commission”, the Kazakh Prime Minister added.

Garibashvili arrived in Kazakhstan early on Tuesday, following his trip to China.

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