The Lapis Lazuli Transit, Trade & Transport Route Agreement was signed at the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) summit held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
The five-nation agreement will connect Afghanistan to Europe by road, rail and sea link that was signed between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on Wednesday.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that the penta-lateral pact was signed on the sidelines of RECCA-VII between the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, First Deputy of the Azerbaijan Railways Company Alirza Suleymanov, Foreign Minister of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze, and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmed Yildiz.
The Lapis Lazuli Transit Corridor will originate from Afghanistan and continue through Turkmenistan, and then cross into Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea. The route will then proceed to Georgia and then to Turkey, thereby providing access between Afghanistan and mainland Europe.
Earlier in the day while addressing other delegates at RECCA-VII, Foreign Minister Rabbani said that the signing of the agreement marked a milestone in Afghanistan’s efforts in achieving greater connectivity through improvement and building of infrastructure for increased trade across Eurasia.
Officials say the agreement was finalized after three years of technical negotiations between the five member countries.