The speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in the opening ceremony of the ferry passage Varna-Poti-Batumi-Ilichevsk - the port of Poti, April 17, 1999

Distinguished Mr. Eduard Shevardnadze!

Distinguished Mr. Leonid Kuchma!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I cordially congratulate you on the opening of the ferry passage Poti-Ilichevsk-Poti.

This ferry passage is an essential component of the Transcaucasian transport corridor. Our plans within the TRACECA programme are being realized. A contract on the Transcaspian transport corridor connecting the Central Asia with Europe was signed by Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan a few years ago. Later other countries located on this route joined the contract.

Our countries have implemented some measures, which ensured the realization of the TRACECA programme in the Caucasus. An international conference on the TRACECA programme and reestablishment of the Great Silk Way was held in Baku last year. We are mobilized to implement this programme because it benefits our countries economically. Therefore, the Poti-Ilichevsk ferry passage, which will ensure the transportation of goods between the East and West, is of great importance for the reestablishment of the Great Silk Way.

We attach a great importance to this. We do our best to develop the Transcaspian corridor, broaden its opportunities and ensure the active transportation of goods.

I am glad that I am taking part in this ceremony. I congratulate the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the representatives of the countries participating in the implementation of the transport corridor East-West. I wish good luck to all of you.

I thank all, who took part in the realization of the Poti-Ilichevsk ferry passage. I wish you more successes. Thank you for your attention.

(Heydar Aliyev`s oil strategy for the independence and welfare of Azerbaijan) - "Nurol" publishing house, Baku, 2001, page 185.