TEHRAN - Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary General Mohammad Yahya Ma'aroufi Sunday announced China's interest in joining the ECO's Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul railroad.
"There is a possibility for China and India's joining the international railroad," Ma'aroufi said in a ceremony to mark the entrance of the first freight train, known as ECO train, ferrying cargo from Islamabad to Istanbul via Tehran.
The first Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) freight started its operation from Islamabad on 14 August, Pakistan's National Day.
The 6,500-kilometer railroad is among ECO's major projects. 1,900 km out of the 6,506 km-long railway passes through Pakistan, 2,570 km through Iran and the remaining 2,036 km passes through Turkey.
Ma'aroufi reiterated that the train adjoins the eastern members of ECO to the western countries of the block.
"The train will cause further reinvigoration of trade and transportation bounds and international agreements," he added.
The concept of such a train was proposed at the 18th Regional Planning Council of the ECO held in March 2008 in Islamabad.
The regular service of the train is expected to begin next year.
The ultimate aim of the project is to start a regular passenger train service between ECO member states and provide a link to Europe and Central Asia.
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are member states of the ECO.
August 24, 2009