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April 24
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Obviously, our region, the South Caucasus, needs peace. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this in his address at the Tbilisi Silk Road International Forum Thursday. 

“And what is peace? It is a state of affairs where countries live with open borders, are connected by active economic, political, and cultural ties, with accumulated experience and tradition of solving all issues diplomatically and through dialogue. This is what real peace is; and as you see, all of that, i.e. open borders, economic, political, and cultural ties are impossible without roads,” Pashinyan added.

“This is the reason why our Government developed and presents the ‘Crossroads of Peace’ project as an important part of the peace agenda. The key essence of that project is the development of communications between Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Islamic Republic of Iran by means of renovating, building, and operating roads, railways, pipelines, cables, and electricity lines.

The railways passing through the south and north of Armenia have not been functioning regionally for thirty years, nor are many highways connecting the east and the west, while the reactivation of these roads would become a short and efficient route connecting the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, both by rail and road.

Along the same lines, these rail and automotive communications could become an efficient route linking the Gulf with the Georgian ports on the South-Eastern shores of the Black Sea. Such a project would bring enormous benefits to all countries of our region, and I wish to invite the attention of governments and private investors to this opportunity.

After the speech, during the event, representatives of my team will distribute brochures about our project to the participants of the conference, and we will be happy to hear feedback and receive support on the way to the implementation of the project.

To be complete, I consider it important to emphasize the principles of ‘Crossroads of Peace,’ which are as follows.

Principle #1 All infrastructures, including roads, railways, airways, pipelines, cables, and electricity lines, operate under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the countries through which they pass.

Principle #2 Each country, through its state institutions, in its territory ensures border, customs control and security of all the infrastructures, including the passage through its territory of vehicles, cargo, and people. In fact, in the near future, a special unit will be created within Armenia’s law-enforcement system, which will have the function of ensuring the security of international communications passing through Armenia, as well as the cargo, vehicles, and people using them, of course jointly with our Patrol Police.

Principle #3 These infrastructures can be used for both international and domestic transportation.

Principle #4 All countries use all the infrastructures on the basis of reciprocity and equality. According to the principle of reciprocity and equality, border and customs control procedures can be somewhat streamlined, too.

I wish to reiterate Armenia’s readiness to open, reopen, reconstruct, build all regional communications based on these principles.

The aforementioned principles are needed to avoid a number of misunderstandings, misreading, and differing interpretations. In the near future, we will also officially present this project to the governments of the countries of our region, and I hope that with joint efforts, including the involvement of investors, we will be able to implement it.

(…)

Returning to the "Crossroads of Peace", I must note that it fully fits in the logic of the Silk Road and we will be glad to receive in Armenia’s territory and to safely dispatch people, vehicles, goods, pipelines, cables, and electricity lines. Thank you. And in conclusion, I want to wish success to the "Silk Road" conference and wish for productive work. Thank you,” the Armenian PM said.

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