Executive Intelligence Review


Kazakhstan Ambassador Presents Eurasia Canal at Singapore Belt and Road Forum

May 24, 2018 (EIRNS)—The proposed Eurasia Canal connecting the Caspian and Black Seas was presented in a lecture at the Institute of the South Asian Studies in Singapore by Kazakhstan’s Ambassador Usen Suleimen. A report on the canal was featured in the April 13, 2018 issue of Executive Intelligence Review. According to Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, the Ambassador showed how his country’s transportation and logistics potential is in line with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the opportunities for connectivity between Central Asia and Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

In his lecture, Ambassador Suleimen described how Chinese President Xi Jinping made the announcement of the Belt and Road policy on Sept. 7, 2013 during his visit to Astana, which clearly signaled that Kazakhstan had an important role to play in the implementation of this mega-project.

He also pointed out that the “Nurly Zhol” infrastructure program of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev is very similar to the Belt and Road, as it also places emphasis on the development of transportation and logistics infrastructure in Kazakhstan. Its synergy with the BRI now has the potential to boost Kazakhstan’s economic and infrastructural development.

“Kazakhstan has already created infrastructural conditions which are necessary to firmly link the trade routes of Asia and Europe through Central Asia. Using these advantages, Kazakhstan is able to liaise between the other Central Asian countries and ASEAN region,”

Suleimen explained. He then described President Nazarbayev’s idea to build a ship canal to link the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea, which can open an access for Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries—many of them landlocked—to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, which was announced during the May 14 Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states summit in Sochi, Russia.

The Eurasia Canal was also mentioned by maritime affairs journalist Harry Valentine, in an article on “Sanctions on Iran May Foster Alternative Trade Routes” in the Maritime Executive magazine on May 20. Valentine explained:

“A lowland area lies between the Caspian Sea and Sea of Azov, where a future direct navigation canal may be possible and built in the same manner as the Suez Canal. Such a navigation canal would also benefit the economies of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and even Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. It is unlikely that any navy would intercept trading vessels sailing across the Black Sea.”