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Kazakh leader touts port on China's 'Silk Road'

AFP  |  Kuryk (Kazakhstan) 

Kazakh leader Nazarbayev today hailed a newly modernised port which the ex-Soviet country hopes will link up to China's massive "Belt and Road" infrastructure project.

Speaking at the Caspian port of Kuryk, 78-year-old Nazarbayev said was investing in such transport hubs to benefit from the trillion-dollar project championed by Chinese leader that aims to be a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trading routes.

"Investing in makes our economy more competitive in multiple ways," Nazarbayev said.

"We are providing a stimulus to the trade routes of the revived Silk Road," he told from nearby countries.

has tied its economic future to neighbouring by investing heavily in road, rail and that will facilitate trade going west from

The is one of two Kazakh ports positioned as hubs for trade between and The other larger port is Aktau, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the north.

expects 4.5 million tons of goods to pass through Kuryk by the end of 2018, three times more than last year.

Growing capacity at the two ports is also important to Kazakhstan's oil industry, although Nazarbayev stressed that diversifying the economy away from crude and other raw commodities was a priority.

"We are working on an innovative industrial programme that differs from the raw materials (economy), vulnerable to price plunges and volatility," he said.

Nazarbayev was speaking ahead of a landmark summit on Sunday on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, following more than two decades of diplomatic wrangling between the bordering countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and

The five countries' leaders are expected to sign a breakthrough agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea, easing regional tensions and potentially facilitating new lucrative

Nazarbayev said Saturday he expected a "historic decision," Russia's agency reported.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 11 2018. 22:30 IST