A meeting of transport officials of the regional countries in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, has agreed to facilitate transport of humanitarian relief goods in the Central Asian region, particularly aimed at helping neighbouring Afghanistan, an official told IRIN.
The two-day conference of the Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia), which concluded on Thursday, decided to look into visa regulations, sea transportation, and ways of facilitating the transport of humanitarian aid in the region.
It also entrusted a working group to harmonise tariffs for sea transport and to improve the navigation systems for Caspian and Black Seas.
"The meeting decided to give favourable conditions to all organisations which are transporting humanitarian aid, through trains, shipping and roads," Bodo Rossig, a TRACECA official, told IRIN from Tashkent.
TRACECA members comprise Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The project was developed by the European Union with the aim to connect Europe and Central Asia by means of transport and communications, thus reviving one of the ancient routes of the Great Silk Road. The first Intergovernmental Commission meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in September 1998.
The meeting in Tashkent adopted a declaration which said the stabilisation of Afghanistan provided an opportunity to enhance transport corridors westwards and eastwards.
TRACECA's financing is carried out by the Commission of European Communities. Since the launch of the programme, 46 projects have been undertaken, comprising 33 on technical assistance and 13 on infrastructure rehabilitation, at a total cost of US $99.6 million.
The declaration noted that TRACECA was performing an important role in establishing global transport systems, facilitation of bilateral and multilateral mutually beneficial relations, peace, security and economic progress in the region.
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