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Yerevan-Batumi motorway, what could it bring

Monday, October 6
During the recent visit to Georgia of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian it was decided to build a motorway connecting Armenia and Batumi. Some Georgian experts are skeptical about the project, others are more enthusiastic.

Economical analyst Lado Papava thinks that during the August war, it became evident that having only one motorway connecting east and west Georgia wasn’t good for the country. When the Gori segment of this motorway was blocked, the necessity of a parallel route became obvious.

Papava mentions that Armenia is Russia’s strategic partner and Russian military bases are deployed there, meaning a new motorway might contain a certain threat for us.

However he thinks that in order to distance Armenia from Russia it is necessary to involve Yerevan in regional projects. Papava doesn’t think that the motorway would encourage separatism in Javakheti region, rather the contrary: the motorway could very well be used for Georgia’s interests if the issue is managed wisely. “If you have unwise policy, it doesn’t matter whether you have a road or not,” assumes Papava.

More skeptical is Niko Orvelashvili. He says that Georgia will not receive much economic benefit from this project and Georgia doesn’t really need it. The issue should be studied thoroughly. Orvelashvili thinks that what Georgia really needs is a Tbilisi-Tsalka-Akhalkhalaki motorway. He thinks that with a Yerevan-Batumi motorway operating the region it passes through will become more integrated into Armenia, rather than remaining Georgian.