Georgia, Tbilisi / Trend corr N. Kirtskhalia / Completion of construction on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project will enable Georgia to overcome a transportation deadlock and put an end to the era of isolation from Europe, the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said in Marabda at a ceremony dedicated to the commencement of the railway's construction on 21 November.
"I am very excited, since today is a historical day for Georgia. Today we launch construction of the railway; the project of the century that will unify Georgia with Europe through Bosporus and Tbilisi, and will enable direct communication with Paris, London and Budapest, as well as Baku and throughout the Caspian Sea and Asia," he said.
After the Abkhazia conflict began, the way to Europe via Russia was closed off for Georgia, Saakashvili stressed.
"Today we will get a more significant, safe and necessary route. We are opening a 'window to Europe'," he said.
"From the first day of my presidency, we have been working on the project, but we did not believe in it, and today it is a reality. For Georgia, it means not only the involvement of thousands people, but also the opening of regions which have been closed until. I hope new investments will be made in the project, and thus many goods will flow from China to Europe via Georgia. That means the re-unification of Azerbaijan with Georgia and through Turkey with Europe," the Georgian President said. Saakashvili called implementation of the project a geopolitical revolution.
"We are creating it jointly with the Azerbaijani and Turkish people through mutual understanding and fraternity. The days when we can fall asleep at night on a train in Tbilisi and wake up in Istanbul and then on to Europe are very close to us. Georgia is becoming a part of Europe, not only in terms of culture, but also geography and transport," President Saakashvili said.
The President voiced his confidence that construction of the railway will be carried out sooner than it is expected to be.
"I hope that in my second presidential term I will be able to become the first passenger of the first train to Europe," he said.