Meeting of Azeri, Georgian, Turkish transport ministers postponed

Business Materials 16 June 2006 17:35 (UTC +04:00)

A meeting of the transport ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey under the project on opening of railway route Kars-AkhalkalakiTbilisi-Baku, to be held in Tbilisi in June, has been postponed to July, the Azerbaijan State Railway Department (ASRD) told Trend.

Ziya Mammadov, the Azerbaijani Transport Minister said that several variants of the feasibility study of the project were under consideration. The average cost of the project is some $400m. Georgia intends to inject some changes to the project, which is probable to increase the value of the project.

The Georgian side offers the reconstruction of some sections of the railway route. The forthcoming meeting is expected to discuss and take final resolution on of the last variant of the project, which will be presented to the heads of governments. Moreover, they will consider the sources of financing. Mammadov did not exclude the probability of financing of the Georgian share by Azerbaijan in case Georgia faces difficulties in it.

The transport experts say delay with a meeting of ministers to mull the Kars-Akhalkalaki0Tbilisi-Baku project, might be linked with the Georgian President Michael Saakashvilis visit to Moscow and in particular, discussions on opening of a railway route via Abkhazia and Georgia to Armenia. The project has bee numerously proposed for realization, while it was delayed die to the Georgian Abkhazian conflict.