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Central Asia/Europe: Plans Laid For Transport Corridor

Sofia, 3 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Our correspondent in Sofia reports that officials from nine countries in southeastern Europe and Central Asia have moved forward with plans to create a transport corridor between Kazakhstan and Italy's Adriatic Sea coast.

Following two days of talks in Bulgaria's Black Sea port city of Burgas, the officials last night signed a document outlining their common interests and details of the project. The signatories include the transportation ministers of the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia, as well as delegates from Albania, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Georgia and Bulgaria have appealed for international investors to help fund the project. Some financial support already has been offered by the United States and the European Union's PHARE program.

The project calls for expanded ferry services between the ports of Brindisi, Italy and Durres, Albania. It also calls for a new ferry line between Burgas and Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti, and new highway links across the signatory countries.