… AND BASIC MULTILATERAL AGREEMENT AS A BASE FOR TRACECA PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION - STRATEGIC DIRECTION FOR BROADEN COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF TRANSPORT ALONG EUROPE-CAUCASUS-ASIA CORRIDOR
Initially TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe- the Caucasus-Asia) is aimed at developing a West-East transport corridor from Europe, across the Black Sea, through the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, built on the Trans-European Networks on the EU territory, the Pan European Transport Corridors in Europe, especially the Black Sea Pan European Transport Area and the New Silk Route to Asia.
After the start-up phase covering 1993-1995, projects focused on making the physical corridor operational and on strengthening the Black Sea –Caspian link as well as the Central Asian.
In September 1997 there was a welcome initiative by Presidents Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Shevardnadze of Georgia who jointly proposed to host a Presidential Conference in the Caucasus I 1998 that could lead to the signing of Basic Multilateral Agreement on Transport initiated within the TRACECA programme.
With the support of the TACIS-TRACECA programme of the European Union acting at that time, this initiative has resulted in the International Conference “TRACECA – Restoration of the Historic Silk Route” that held on 8 September 1998 in Baku (Azerbaijan Republic)
The conference was attended by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, representatives of the European Commission, heads of governments and transport ministries and experts from 32 countries as well as representatives of 12 international organizations. The important achievement of the conference was the signing of the Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Corridor Europe-the Caucasus-Asia and its Technical Annexes on international railway and road transport, international maritime navigation, customs and documentation procedures.
Regulations of the MLA and its Technical Annexes have determined the main aims and objectives of the regional transport cooperation among the participating countries:
• development of economic relations, trade and transport communication in Europe, the Black Sea region, the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea region and Central Asia.
• ensuring the access to the world market of road, rail transport and commercial navigation
• ensuring traffic security, cargo safety and environment protection
• harmonization of transport policy as well as legal framework in the field of transport
• creation of equal conditions of competition for transport operations
After the signing the Basic Multilateral Agreement in September, 1998. Baku, TRACECA programme became the programme of development cooperation in the field of transport along Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor.