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Armenia looks for alternative routes

Monday, September 22
Today the 70% of cargo entering Armenia comes through Georgia. Therefore the recent Russian –Georgian war created problems for Armenia as well.

The detonation of a railway bridge prevented the transportation of goods to and from Armenia for about two weeks. Yerevan has claimed it received losses of about USD 680 million as a result, a sum which it is asking the USA to grant it in aid to help the country recover financially. It has not asked for any compensation however from its strategic partner, Russia, whose aggression against Georgia initially created the problem.

Currently Armenia is looking for alternative ways of transporting goods to and from its country. Its main focus is on reopening the Gumri–Kars railway line, a cause it is desperately promoting in different arenas. The Armenian Security Council Chairman has said that it is only 3km from Gumri to the Turkish border and from there Armenia can access international markets. The next best option, according to Yerevan’s thinking, is to build a railway line into Iran, but this would cost around USD 1.5 billion.

As is known, Armenia has given its railways to Russia on a long term lease. But it is now hurriedly trying to activate the Armenia-Turkey connection because the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway is already being constructed and Yerevan is doing its best to frustrate this project and prove it is not viable.

The President of Russian Railways, Vladimir Iakunin, has stated that he can’t comment much about the restoration of Armenia-Turkey railway connections. He has however commented on the expensive project of connecting Armenia to Iran via the railway, highlighting the interstate level of the necessary decisions.