BISHKEK, June 19 (TCA) – Kyrgyzstan turned out to be uninterested in inter-regional railway project proposed by its neighboring country, Tajikistan, according to Kyrgyz officials.
Tajikistan hoped to open up a second international transportation highway to free its dependence on its fractious neighbor Uzbekistan through the construction of Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan-China railway line.
However, Kyrgyzstan is much more interested in another project.
"It doesn't interest us much at this time, because there's another project, the China-Kyrgyzstan railway, that's more important economically and strategically," Kyrgyz Transport and Communications Minister Kalybek Sultanov said, according to local news web site Tazabek.kg.
The $2 billion China-Kyrgyz rail route supported by Kyrgyzstan bypasses Tajikistan altogether, running from Kashagas in western China to southeast Kyrgyzstan where it will link to Uzbekistan’s rail network at the border town of Kara-Suu, as Universal Newswires reported.
The project is beneficial for both sides. China sees the project as speeding delivery of its potentially vast exports to Europe and the Middle East, while Kyrgyzstan expects to earn transit fees, develop regional links, and create jobs with the project.
“Next week, the leaders of the five parliamentary party factions plan a helicopter tour around the planned China-Kyrgyzstan railway route,” Sultanov said.
In case if the China-Kyrgyz railway corridor goes ahead, Tajikistan will be left out in the cold. The Uzbek government has frequently blocked the passage of freight trains on its territory carrying goods to and from Tajikistan. Dushanbe says it is doing so to exert political pressure, but Uzbekistan blames the stoppages on technical reasons.
With reporting from Universal Newswires-Central Asia Online-Tazabek.kg