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Some issues regarding Kars-Akhalkalaki railway construction

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, August 20
The building of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway, a project initiated by Azerbaijan and Turkey, has been slowing down for different reasons. Armenia, which was against this project, has offered to restore the existing Kars-Gumri (Armenia) railway line instead, something which could be done in a very short period of time.

Azerbaijan initially promised to issue a USD 200 million credit to Georgia for constructing the Georgian segment of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway. Director of the Marabda-Kartzakhi railway company Bidzina Bregadze has stated that by the end of 2009 Azerbaijan is due to have allotted USD 100 million of this, but Executive Director of the Azeri State Oil Fund Shakhmar Movsusov has acknowledged that until now only USD 33.7 million has been allotted.

The Azerbaijani side explains that this delay has been caused by the financial problems the country is facing due to the economic crisis, as gas exports have reduced to a minimum. However there are some technical problems as well. Some time ago The Messenger reported that the Turkey-Georgia connecting tunnel had been subject to a landslide which has forced certain changes to be made in the project plan.

The results of the Russian aggression last year and certain political events in Georgia have also negatively influenced the money transfer for the project, Bidzina Bregadze has said. However he still expresses optimism that the project will be finished by 2012 as originally intended.