YEREVAN–Transport ministers of member states in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization met in Yerevan Friday for a conference on the development of land and sea transportation links between the countries of the Black Sea Region.
Absent from the session were representatives from Azerbaijan and Albania. Friday’s BSEC meeting is the first one to be presided over by Armenia, which assumed the chairmanship of the BSEC last November. The Armenian chairmanship has focused on streamlining several issues, primarily dealing with energy cooperation between the BSEC member countries. The six month rotating chairmanship is set to end in April.
Friday’s meeting also discussed preparations for of the 20th sitting of the BSEC Foreign Ministers Council to be held in Yerevan on April 15-16. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is expected to attend that meeting.
Armenia’s Minister of Transport and Communication, Gurgen Sargsyan, greeted the guests and noted that the issues on the agenda refer to the development of a belt road linking the Black Sea region, elaboration of a joint plan of sea routes, and heightening transportation levels between participating states.
“Today’s discussions will serve as a basis for the development and establishment of those routes,” Sargsyan said. “We do hope that the shaping of the new map of a belt road will be the basis for future cooperation,” Gurgen Sargsyan said, adding that the map is not ready yet and but that Armenia will also join the belt road.
According to Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan, the organization faces many challenges to building cooperation between the countries of the region. “From this viewpoint Armenia will continue working toward the realization of common regional objectives,” he said.
Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos said he is pleased that programs are being implemented in the region that will “considerably change the lives of its people.”
“There are many large-scale programs targeted at the development of regional transport routes,” he said. “We will continue working actively to create new trans-European directions.”