Ashgabat, 15 November, 2017 - The Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement was signed on November 15, 2017 on the sidelines of RECCA VII in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, marking an important milestone in the collective efforts towards deepening connectivity and enhancing trade in the wider RECCA region.
Three technical meetings on the Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement were held over two years, with the final one in November 2016 in Baku, where the participants finalized the text of the agreement.
The Agreement has been developed with a view to enhance regional economic integration and trade-based connectivity between the countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey including through building an integrated transit and transport system among the contracting parties.
The Lapis Lazuli Corridor complements other transport corridors in the wider region. It begins from Aqina in northern Faryab province and Torghundi in western Herat (both in Afghanistan), and continues to the port (on the Caspian Sea) of Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan; after passing the Caspian Sea, the route continues on to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and then connects onward to Tblisi, capital of Georgia, as well as the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi; finally, the corridor connects to the cities of Kars and Istanbul, Turkey, at the entrance of Europe.
The name “Lapis Lazuli” is derived from the historic route that Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and other semiprecious stones were exported along, over 2,000 years ago, to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans, Europe, and North Africa.