The Georgian Parliament ratified on May 31 an agreement with Azerbaijan through which the latter will allocate additional USD 575 million loan to a Georgian state-owned company to complete construction of a railway section, which will link Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia.
The loan is allocated to the Marabda-Kartsakhi Railway, a state-owned company established in 2007, which is in charge of the Georgian section of the major regional railway project.
In 2007 Azerbaijan agreed to lend USD 200 million to Georgia to finance construction and rehabilitation of its portion of the railway and with the latest loan total amount will now go to USD 775 million.
The loan, according to the government, will be repaid from the profit received after the new railway is put into operation next year.
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey launched the railway project in 2007. The project envisages rehabilitation of existing railway section from Marabda in Shida Kartli region to Akhalkalaki, a town in Samtskhe-Javakheti region; plus construction of a new, about 30-km long railway section from Akhalkalaki to Kartsakhi at the Turkish border. On the Turkish side, a new 68-km long railway section will be contracted from the town of Kars to the Georgian border. In addition a new railway station will be constructed in Akhalkalaki as part of the project.