Railway from Russia to Transcaucasia must be unblocked

Railway from Russia to Transcaucasia must be unblocked
By Lyudmila Yermakova

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 14, 2004 Friday

SAMARA, May 14 — The railway from Russia to the Transcaucasia must
function again, holds Vadim Gustov, the chairman of the Committee
for CIS affairs of the Federation Council upper house of Russian

“There is a need to look for the solution of this problem, and there
might be a non-standard decision”, Gustov said. He takes part in the
conference on interregional Russo-Armenian cooperation.

Nearly 90 percent of Armenia’s foreign trade cargoes are carried
along the Georgian railway. The transit of Armenian cargoes along
this territory and then through the ports of Poti and Batumi involves
certain problems, Gustov said. The cost of goods transportation over
the first 700 kilometres on the way from Yerevan to Moscow makes up
80 percent of the total transportation costs.

Gustov believes the MPs of the three countries concerned – Armenia,
Georgia and Russia – must participate in the solution of this
problem. “One of the ways is jointly to provide the funds for the
reconstruction of the destroyed part of the railway and then Armenia
might rent this stretch”, he said. Gustov proposes that the road be
guarded by peacekeepers so it could function properly.

“In this way the road will be unblocked and be open again to the
flow of goods to Armenia for the transportation of Georgian goods to
Russia”, Gustov noted. He believes this question should be discussed
in the by the interparliamentary assembly of the CIS countries.