The Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan does not rule out the allocation of additional funds for the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov stated on September 29.
“There is a project, which has to be carried through. Necessary decisions will be made,” he said, without citing any figures.
Earlier, the Azerbaijani Government allocated a U.S. $200m credit to Georgia for the work on the Georgian section of the railway. The funds were provided from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) for 25 years, at an annual interest rate of 1%. A new, 105-km-long section is to be constructed under the project, with a 76-km-long section to run through Turkey and a 29-km-long one, through Georgia. Also, the Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section will be renovated, which will increase its annual capacity up to 15m tons. Azerbaijani Minister of Transport Ziya Mamedov stated earlier that the construction is to be completed in the first half of 2012. However, despite the agreed terms, the sides are doing their best to finish the greater part of the work this year. The designed maximum capacity of the section is 17m tons of cargo. At the initial stage it expected to be 6.5m tons of cargoes and one million passengers.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway construction project is an alternative to the Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki railway, which is not operating now. The main aim of the project is to oust Armenia from the regional communication projects.