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Zemo Larsi checkpoint issue

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 29
Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri stated during his Yerevan visit on January 26 that the opening of the Zemo Larsi checkpoint is very beneficial for Armenia and the Russians were lifting all obstacles to doing this.

The Zemo Larsi checkpoint was first blocked on September 1, 2004 during the terrorist attack on Beslan School No 1. It reopened in October but was then closed again on July 2006, allegedly so that reconstruction works could take place on the Russian side. In reality this was a Russian attempt to damage Georgia's transport capacity.

In May 2009 Russia declared the reconstruction works complete and Moscow and Tbilisi expressed their interest in reopening the checkpoint. Russian President Medvedev stated in 2009 that there is nothing preventing this and Russian officials more recently stated that on March 1, 2010 traffic movement will begin there.

The Georgian population of Armenian ethnicity in the Javakheti region is very much promoting the idea of opening of this route as this is the only land connection between Armenia and Russia. As Armenian MP Stephan Saparian stated, opening this checkpoint is mostly beneficial for Armenia from the economic and communications point of view.