Georgia’s Pm Angers Azerbaijan On The Eve Of His Visit, Russian Pape


Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is going to visit
Azerbaijan to meet with the leadership of the neighboring country
and discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.

Russian Nezavisimaya gazeta writes that the visit will not be simple
considering Ivanishvili’s criticism of Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalak-Kars
railway project intended to be wrapped up in spring 2013.

Earlier Georgia’s former foreign minister Salome Zurabishvili and
expert-economist Gia Khukhashvili have also expressed interested
in the project. Asked to point the guarantees that construction of
the railway will not make the Black Sea ports idle, the Georgian
authorities failed to give any answer.

As a concern they remind that the railway refers to Armenia as well.

“It is understandable that the Georgian authorities do not want to
refuse Azerbaijan but Armenia is also a neighbor country. And it is
not so logical to improve relations with one neighbor, and spoil with
another. Besides, Yerevan has its viewpoint over the railway. There
is also Gyumri-Kars railway which is frozen because of closed borders
between Armenia and Turkey,” the author of the article Yuri Rox writes.

The article says Gyumri-Kars railway communication’s operation
was intensively discussed when Ankara-Yerevan relations
seemed to warm up which could have devalued the significance of
Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalak-Kars railway’s and take Armenian out of the
transport isolation.

“By the way Gyumri-Kars railway operation was considered a more
optimal variant than Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and was actively put into
circulation. Of course, Georgia’s support to Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway
was not fatal and Gyumri-Kars was not operated due to political causes,
Yerevan could not have ignored Tbilisi’s viewpoint in the issue,”
the article runs.

Currently the majority of the questions are being forwarded
by Ivanishvili. “The implementation of the project is a very
interesting geo-political issue but it has economic issues as well. The
construction of the new railway may become a reason for idleness of
the ports and Georgian railway and we should first of all discuss
the issue with Azerbaijan,” he said.

Azerbaijan has nervously responded to Ivanishvili’s statements.

From: A. Papazian