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Russia Signs UN-Backed Asian Highway Accord


Russia Signs UN-Backed Asian Highway Accord

The largest piece of the jigsaw in the United Nations-backed 140,000-kilometre Asian Highway network of roads linking the vast region from St. Petersburg to Singapore and Seoul to Istanbul has formally fallen into place with the Russian Federation signing the agreement.

Twenty-six of the 32 countries who last November agreed in principle to the inter-governmental project have now signed, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said today.

When finished, the Highway will ease border crossing for people, vehicles and goods and give the much-needed benefits to landlocked countries.

Although covering by far the most extensive territory Russia will be second to China in the length of Asian-Highway designated routes – 17,000 kilometres compared to 26,000 kilometres. Twenty-three countries signed the agreement at ESCAP’s meeting in Shanghai last week and have now been followed by India and Azerbaijan as well as Russia. Those yet to sign are Bangladesh, the Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK), Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Turkmenistan.

ESCAP officials estimate that 83 per cent of the 140,000 kilometres meet the agreed minimum highway standards. An additional $16 million in investment will be needed to upgrade the remainder.

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