There is “no threat to construction” of Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway, designed to link Azerbaijan with Turkey via Georgia, Georgia’s PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on Monday.
He, however, reiterated his previous remarks on the issue and said that question marks were about economic value of the project for Georgia at its initial stage of operation.
“No one plans to stop its construction,” Ivanishvili said at a news conference in Tbilisi.
He said there was a threat that after it’s put into operation, scheduled for late 2013, the new railway link would divert cargo from Georgia’s existing railway, which consequently would also result in reducing cargo turnover in Georgia’s Black Sea ports.
Ivanishvili, however, also said that it was an issue which was possible to solve.
“I have never questioned construction of this railway itself, but I reiterate that there are questions about economic aspects,” Ivanishvili said, adding that “it will not be difficult” to sort out these issues with the Azerbaijani side in a way so that not to harm Georgia’s economy on the one hand and the launch of the new railway on the other. “We will solve this issue,” he added.
He also said at the same press conference that price of gas imported from Azerbaijan would be the main issue of discussion during his planned visit to Baku this month. Ivanishvili said that the current price was “good”, but there was room for further talks on this issue.
The Prime Minister said that there were some major economic projects in the country, which were “also triggering questions” and which required some adjustments to put them in line with the interests of the country. He named among such projects ongoing construction of 160MW coal-fired thermal power station in Gardabani.
Ivanishvili also said that questions were also about use of natural resources, which also required to be reviewed. He, however, also said that it would not be easy as contracts were in place and the process should take place in a way so that not to scare businesses.