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Armenia Opposes Turkish-Georgian-Azeri Railway Project

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said on August 30 that teh construction of Kars (Turkey)-Akhalkalaki (Georgia) railway link, which will connect Turkey to Azerbaijan via Georgia, is “economically senseless” as a railway between Kars-Gyumri (Armenia), linking Turkish railway with Armenian and further with Georgia already exists, Armenian media sources reported.

But currently the Kars-Gyumri railway is not operational because of the trade blockade imposed on Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are in negotiations over construction of an alternative railway between Kars and Akhalkalaki – a southern Georgia town in the predominately ethnic Armenian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.

According to the preliminary calculations, construction of a 160-km long railway will cost about USD 400 million.

“The time will come and regional conflicts will be settled. The borders will be opened and then we will have two parallel railways in the region, one of which will become useless. It is not difficult to guess which one – the one which does not yet exist,” Vardan Oskanian said at a news briefing in Yerevan.

“We will oppose the implementation of this project… and will do so mainly through advocating with international organizations that the project is pointless,” the Armenian Foreign Minister said.

He also said that Armenia will lobby in favor of including the issue of reopening borders with Armenia in Turkey’s EU accession talks.

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