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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet signed Euro-Asian Rail Transport Declaration

28.02.2013

No 69-E

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet signed the UN Economic Commission for Europe’s Declaration on the Promotion of Euro-Asian Rail Transport and Activities Towards Unified Railway Law in Geneva.

Paet stated that global rules are implemented in air transport, maritime transport, highway transport and inland water transport, but to date there are no equivalent standards for railway transport. “This is why the UN Economic Commission for Europe has decided to move towards equalising railway-related legislation internationally, initially agreeing on general conditions and later on specific international standards,” Paet said. “The end goal is the conclusion of an international railway transport convention.”

The foreign minister added that in 2005 the UN Economic Commission for Europe agreed on strategic elements that would be the cornerstones for overcoming the main weaknesses in Europe and Asia’s railway transport systems. “These elements are to establish a pan-European customs transit system on the railways, equalising railway transit border controls, and starting negotiations to unify international railway law,” said Paet.

The need to  unify international railway law arose due to the dramatic increase in trade volumes during the past decades. During the same time many major railway projects have been completed, such as new railway lines and border crossings among China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, the Marmaray Tunnel under the Bosporus Strait, and railway connections between Iran and Pakistan, which have helped to connect Southern Asia with Europe.

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