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OSKANIAN SPEAKS AGAINST NEW RAILROAD

YEREVAN, AUGUST 31, ARMENPRESS: Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian spoke harshly against plans of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan to build a new railroad from Turkish Kars to Tbilisi and from there to Baku, saying his government will be fighting to thwart these plans.

Speaking at an August 30 news conference Oskanian argued that neither Georgia nor Azerbaijan has the moral right to release money from their budgets (which are supplemented by foreign aid) to build a railroad that would bypass the existing Kars-Gyumri railway that is connected also with Tbilisi. Oskanian said Armenia is developing steadily and its neighbors’ actions must be in tune with the logic of regional development, as after all conflicts in the region will be resolved and the borders open to show that the money invested in construction of a new railroad was a waste.

He said Armenia is even ready not to use the Kars-Gyumri- Tbilisi railroad at the first stage should it resume. “We are saying to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey; use the existing road to trade,” he said.

Oskanian also indicated that Armenia may not endorse Kazakhstan as a candidate for OSCE chairmanship in 2009 because of its biased position on the Karabakh conflict, though l

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