by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Abkhazia, Hero of Abkhazia Vagharshak Kosyan, MP of the Abkhazian Parliament of the second convocation, Hero of Abkhazia Galust Trapizonyan, Chevalier of the Order of Leon Karapet Karagozyan and MP of the Abkhazian Parliament of the fourth convocation, Chevalier of the Order of Leon Valery Mayromyan suggest launching public debates on possible resumption of the railway service via Abkhazia.
According to abkhaz-auto.ru, the address signed by the parliamentarians says that the Eurasian integration processes keep on dynamically developing in the South Caucasus and that in May 2014 Armenia expressed its willingness to join the Customs Union in the shortest time possible.
"We are convinced that both our compatriots and all the member states of the Customs Union will benefit from it. We also welcome Armenia's decision, because the strengthening of the "Transcaucasian vector" of Eurasian integration enhances Abkhazia's chances to join these structures as a sovereign state", says the address.
"We suppose that even now Abkhazia can contribute to the processes of economic integration in the Caucasus and South Caucasus and can itself take an active part in these processes. For that purpose, we suggest discussing the issue of opening of the Abkhazian-Georgian section of the former Transcaucasus railway. This short and cheap section would enable the Armenian export goods to easily enter Russia and Russia, in turn, would receive a stable transport corridor with the states of the Caucasus, the Near and Middle East", the document says.
The parliamentarians point out that in terms of foreign policy, the participation of Abkhazia in the talks as a full party will contribute to extension of international recognition of the republic. >From the economic point of view, Abkhazia's budget will have additional revenues. "In case of the launch of the railway with a capacity of 10 million tons, our country will be able to earn up to 6 billion rubles annually as a transit state. Moreover, Abkhazia's participation in the Transcaucasus transport corridor will contribute to Abkhazia's further involvement in the Eurasian integration processes", says the address.
The MPs also urge the presidential candidates to take part in the public debates so that the newly elected president of the Republic of Abkhazia could initiate talks on opening of the Abkhazian- Georgian section of the railway.
According to the survey of International Alert NGO (UK), the potential costs of rehabilitation of the South Caucasus railways, in particular the Sochi-Sukhumi-Tbilisi-Yerevan railway, will total $277.5 mln, which can pay for no earlier than in 100 years. The restoration of the 190km section Psou-Inguri will cost $251 million. The Inguri-Zugdigi section will cost $26.5 million. The section from Zugdigi to Tbilisi and farther to Yerevan needs no repair. It is noteworthy that Abkhazian experts estimate the rehabilitation of the railway at $350-$400 million. Meanwhile, Georgian experts claim that the project will cost some $73 million. -n-