About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Azeri, Georgian, Turkish Leaders Speak of ‘Historic’ Rail Link
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Nov.'07 / 13:59

The presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Ilham Aliyev, Mikheil Saakashvili and Abdullah Gül, respectively, said a regional railway project that would link Asia with Europe via the Caucasus was of “historic importance.”

The three leaders were speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony in the village of Marabda, in Georgia, marking the launch of construction of the Georgian section of the railway linking Azerbaijan and Turkey.

President Saakashvili said that it was “a historic day without any doubt,” because with the project Georgia was “moving out of a dead-end” and was linking itself with Europe.

“This is a huge project,” Saakashvili said. “Many doubted it could be done. But from the very first day of my presidency – together with my colleagues from Turkey and Azerbaijan – I started to work to make this project a reality.”

He also said that the railway link would help the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, in eastern Georgia, to overcome economic isolation and “become not only an important transit point but also an economically active center.”

This project, Saakashvili said, “means that Chinese cargo, now going via the Trans- Siberian [railway in Russia], will move via this route. This is a geo-political revolution.”

“Although we have been cut from the Europe’s major railway links after railway via Abkhazia was closed down, we are now gaining more important railway link,” Saakashvili said.

“I think construction of the railway will be finished well before my second [five-year] term as president expires and I will be able to open this railway and become the first passenger on this route,” he added.

In his speech, Turkish President Abdullah Gül thanked President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, for, as he put it, his “important role” in making the project a reality. Kazakhstan has pledged to use the route for the transit of cargo, Abdullah Gül said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the project was not directed against any third country. “On the contrary, the project will boost regional cooperation… and security in the region,” he said.

Armenia has been against the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway, claiming that the project would further isolate the landlocked country. As an alternative to this railway project, Yerevan has been pushing for the reopening of the existing Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi railway. The railway between the Turkish town of Kars and Armenia’s Gyumri is currently not operational because of trade blockades imposed on Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

In January 2007 Azerbaijan agreed to lend USD 200 million to Georgia to finance construction of its portion of the railway. Georgia will have to repay the loan, at 1% interest, within 25 years.

Twenty nine kilometers of track will be constructed from Akhalkalaki to the Turkish border, and 192 kilometers of existing track repaired in Georgia, in the framework of the project.

Construction of the railway is expected to be over in a course of 2010, according to Irakli Ezugbaia, chief of the Georgian state-run Railway Company.

Latest News
01 May.'18 10:55
We Have Moved to a New Platform
Direct Your Bookmarks to https://civil.ge.
29 Apr.'18 03:54
Ruling Party Candidate Wins MP By-Elections
Givi Chichinadze will represent Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency in the Parliament of Georgia.
28 Apr.'18 09:40
Polls Open for Vani and Khoni MP By-Elections
48,123 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency.
27 Apr.'18 17:23
State Dept’s Europe Affairs Point Man to Visit Tbilisi
Wess Mitchell will meet senior government officials and address the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum.
27 Apr.'18 13:45
In Quotes: Georgian Politicians on Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Comeback
Bidzina Ivanishvili will be approved as the Georgian Dream party chairman at the upcoming convention.
26 Apr.'18 18:15
SG Jens Stoltenberg: Georgia NATO’s ‘Very Close’ Partner
The NATO Secretary General says Foreign Ministers meeting tomorrow will recognize the country’s progress.
26 Apr.'18 14:24
Ex-PM Ivanishvili to Chair Georgian Dream Party
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Ivanishvili was ‘best equipped’ to add new dynamism to the party.
26 Apr.'18 11:12
Lawmaker Proposes Criminal Liability for ‘Insult of Religious Feelings’
The parliamentary human rights committee decided to set up a working group for scrutinizing the draft law.
25 Apr.'18 17:21
New Abkhaz Government Head Appointed
Gennady Gagulia has served as the Abkhaz “prime minister” twice - in 1995-1997, and 2002-2003.
25 Apr.'18 14:43
Watchdog Improves Georgia’s Press Freedom Ranking
None of the countries of the former Soviet Union (except the Baltics) are ranked ahead of Georgia.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2018, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
40