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Karsi-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway project in doubt

Thursday, October 2
Russian news agency Regnum claims that the construction of the Karsi-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway might have been put in question by the recent developments in Georgia.

This railway line was a Turkish initiative. Turkey is now skeptical of Georgia being able to repay the loan of USD 200 million it took out for the purpose of constructing its segment of the railway. Turkey and Armenia are also negotiating intensively about reopening the existing Karsi-Gumri (Armenia) railway which Yerevan has been desperate to reactivate since its war with Azerbaijan. This would obviate the necessity of the Karsi-Akhalkalaki railway construction, and the blame for the cancellation of the project would be put on “instability in Georgia” while Armenia benefited.

Both railway lines have a terminus at Baku, which presumably would have a decisive vote on whether either or both railway projects are furthered. Recently Baku categorically refused to allow Armenia to participate in the NABUCCO gas pipeline project. It is not known so far what Baku has been promised, if anything, in return for this action.