Georgian Minister: Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway construction will not be stopped
Georgia, Tbilisi, Dec. 26 / Trend, N. Kirtzkhalia /
Construction on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will not be stopped. This issue was not even included on the agenda, Georgian Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure David Narmania said at a news conference on Wednesday.
He said that the railway is an important geopolitical project. Georgia is discussing the reconsideration of the project's economic parameters.
"This speaks to the fact that a certain amount potential for the flow of goods has been determined", Narmania said.
He stressed that it has been decided that goods to the amount of five million tons must be transported per year. But the category of goods and whether they are to be transported by the Georgian Central Railway was not determined today.
"The matter also rests in tariff policy and transportation cost," Narmania said.
He added that the main subject of discussion was the possibility of conducting specific market research.
Narmania said that more than half of all work has been already completed and more than half of resources needed for the project have been harnessed.
"Extensive operations have been completed," he said. "Only economic parameters will be reconsidered."
He stressed that the Economy Ministry, rather than its office controls the project.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being built on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish inter-state agreement.
Earlier, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and the Azerbaijani Transport Ministry expressed their concern over Ivanishvili's statements on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, made during an interview with the Georgian media outlets.
Azerbaijan has allocated a soft loan worth $ 775 million to Georgia for the construction and reconstruction of the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Funding for the project by SOFAZ is carried out in accordance with a Decree of the President of Azerbaijan "On the implementation of project activities for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railroad".
There are plans to construct a new 105-kilometer branch of railroad in the frame of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, a section of the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway will be reconstructed in Georgia, which will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. Plans to build a place in Akhalkalaki for changing trains from Georgian railways to European ones exist.
Peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo. This figure will be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo at its initial stage.