Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 12
By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:
The new cargo transportation route proposed by the Georgian side through the railway from Georgia to Russia via Azerbaijan as an alternative to Upper Lars may be attractive for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia and to some extent will expand the Russia-Georgia trade and economic relations that are being improved, famous Georgian expert Archil Sikharulidze told Trend.
Sikharulidze was commenting on the prospect of the transit of Georgian cargoes through Azerbaijan to Russia, recently proposed by public figure, businessman and founder of the "Foundation for the Revival and Development of Russian-Georgian Relations" David Tsetskhladze.
The Georgian railway project developer thinks that the railroad in Upper Lars will not be overloaded due to this route, it is quite rational in terms of saving time for tourists traveling to Georgia, as well as for Georgian food suppliers to enter the Russian markets.
“Tsetskhladze's proposal was viable,” Sikharulidze added. “Its economic and political benefits must be at the same level.”
"I think that this proposal can be considered in Georgia after the presidential election, which is expected in the autumn 2018," the analyst said.
By the way, the initiative put forward in Georgia caused serious resentment in neighboring Armenia, where serious problems arose related to the transit of local agricultural products, which are transported through the Upper Lars checkpoint for the delivery of goods to Russia.
The Upper Lars checkpoint at the Georgian-Russian border is the only way for Armenian carriers to supply agricultural products to Russia.
But due to traffic jams, including a big flow of tourists from Russia and the neighboring regional countries traveling to Georgia, Armenian trucks often stand idle on this railroad for weeks, which causes great damage to the Armenian economy.
According to the Armenian media, this problem has aggravated in summer due to the continuous flow of Russian tourists traveling to Georgia via this railroad.
Meanwhile, the new route does not solve the problems of Yerevan, as the transportation of Armenian cargoes through Azerbaijan is completely excluded due to the occupation policy of Armenia.
“For Armenia, the initiative of the Georgian side could be attractive in case of the settlement of relations with Azerbaijan,” the Georgian expert added.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars corridor has been already used for transit from Central Asia and South-East Asia. The cargoes are transported to Russia via the North-South corridor, which currently connects Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia and having prospects for extension to India and the countries of the Persian Gulf.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.