The patience cup of the Armenian government is overflowing: It threatens to realize the construction of the Iran-Armenia railway bypassing RACIA FZE

ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
November 9, 2017 Thursday


The patience cup of the Armenian government is overflowing: It
threatens to realize the construction of the Iran-Armenia railway
bypassing RACIA FZE

November 09

Yerevan

Naira Badalyan. The Armenian Ministry of Transport, Communications and
IT accuses RACIA FZE, a concessionaire for the construction of the
Iran-Armenia railway, in violation of the deadlines stipulated by the
agreement and the implementation of other obligations.

According to the press service of the Ministry, the Armenian
government is making efforts to implement the project of building a
railway to Iran, bypassing the "RACIA FZE". As the agency reminds, in
2012 the Armenian government signed a concession agreement on the
southern railway from Armenia with the company Racia FZE. The
agreement provides for the construction of a 316 km long railway from
the Armenian city of Gavar to the southern border of Armenia near
Meghri, which, according to the project, will be connected to the
central railway system in the country. The document stipulates
specific deadlines for carrying out studies on the implementation of
the program, as well as the stages of program financing, construction
and commissioning.

"The government of Armenia was patient with Racia FZE, but the company
regularly violated the deadlines and other obligations stipulated by
the agreement, taking into account this and the strategic importance
of the project for Armenia, the government is making efforts to
implement the construction of the railway bypassing" RACIA FZE
"According to the report, with new information, the ministry promised
to share it. Earlier, on Sept. 26 at a press conference, the Minister
of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies Vahan
Martirosyan stated that Armenia might revise the agreement with the
only company that committed to attract investments in the construction
of the Armenia-Iran railway. The Minister noted that, in accordance
with an agreement with a private foreign company, it must attract an
investor for the construction of a railway. "I met with the director
of the company twice, suggested speeding up the process, otherwise,
Armenia is ready to revise the points of the agreement," Martirosyan
said. He pointed out that the matter was about the company "Racia FZE"
and its director Joseph Borkowski. The last meeting with him, the
minister said, took place in July this year.

It should be noted that the project for the construction of the
Iran-Armenia railway does not appear to be among the priority ones -
there are no plans for its implementation in the program of the
government for 2017-2022. Nevertheless, as earlier, Vahan Martirosyan
stated when answering ArmInfo's question, this does not mean that the
authorities refused to implement it. At the same time, according to
him, for today there is nothing that would be optimistic. "At this
stage, there are problems with the implementation of the project,
deciding which, we will be able to move forward," - said the head of
the Ministry of Transport. These problems, as pointed out by
Martirosyan, are related both to investors and the implementation of a
number of obligations, and to the study of the state of roads. As
recognized by the head of the Ministry of Transport, Armenia is
already lagging behind the earlier deadlines. According to him, there
are certain limitations that, before they are eliminated, do not allow
talking about progress. Martirosyan avoided stating which exactly. The
fact that the railway project "Iran-Armenia", recognized according to
the assurances of the Ministry of Transport of Armenia, economically
justified, ordered to live for a long time, became clear already at
the beginning of this year, when the government decree of January 12
eliminated CJSC "Railroad Construction Directorate "under the Ministry
of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies of Armenia.
Then the minister of transport, communications and IT of Armenia Vahan
Martirosyan tried to calm the media representatives, noting that this
will not in any way affect the implementation of the program for the
construction of the Iran-Armenia railway. "As part of the Ministry
operates the" Railway Management ", which can carry out the relevant
functions," - he said. However, saying that negotiations in the
direction of attracting potential investors in construction continue,
the minister did not name the names and countries - possible
participants in the project. "We are working in this direction, but we
all realize that the project is not an easy one and requires
individual work with each individual investor," he said. It is
noteworthy that the project, which was announced as early as in 2012,
is not completely formed for today. "We are discussing the routes of
connection with the operating railway via the Sevan coast (Sevan
station), the other via the Ararat valley (Yeraskh station). At the
moment, the route through Sevan is preferable," explained Minister
Martirosyan. As he said, all for the same rough estimates, the payback
period of the project is estimated at 22 years. The cost of the
project was estimated at $ 3.5 billion. The total length of the road
on the territory of Armenia will be 305 km. It will have 86 bridges, a
total length of 19.6 km and 60 tunnels with a total length of 102 km.
Construction according to the submitted program, it will be completed
in 2022. It is assumed that the volume of cargo transportation by rail
from Gagarin station (Gegharkunik region) to Agarak (Syunik region)
will be 25 million tons per year. This road, which is 44 km shorter
than the planned site of Gavar-Agarak, will be connected to the
existing railway network. The launch of the projects "South Railway of
Armenia" and "Southern Highway of Armenia" (Iran-Armenia) was
announced in January 2013. At the same time, a trilateral Memorandum
of Understanding on regional cooperation aimed at the development of
the Southern Railway of Armenia was signed between the South Caucasus
Railway, the Ministry of Transport and Communication of Armenia and
the Racia FZE company, registered in the United Arab Emirates by the
company. After that, nothing more substantive about "Racia FZE" and
negotiations with it was not announced.-v -

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