YEREVAN, May 14. / ARKA /. Armenia hopes that its imminent membership in the Russia-led Customs Union will help it address a string of transport challenges, according to Artak Zakaryan, chairman of an Armenian parliament committee on foreign issues from the governing Republican Party of Armenia.
Speaking at a video news conference involving participants in Yerevan Moscow, Minsk and Astana he recalled the ongoing construction of the North -South transport corridor, designed to upgrade Armenia’s main corridor road as part of a broader thrust to improve connectivity, and boost trade, growth and livelihood opportunities in the Caucasus and Central Asia sub-regions.
He said Armenia's membership in the Customs Union may eventually result in an effective road link from Iran to Russia through Armenia and Georgia, as well as in the resumption of a rail link from Armenia to Russia through Georgia.
He said if this project materializes Armenia will come out from the transport blockade imposed by Azerbaijan and Turkey and become a transit country for direct access to markets in Asia and the Middle East through Iran.
The North-South corridor stretches for 556 km from Armenian Meghri in the south to the border with Georgia.
In 2010 January the Armenian government approved the investment program to build the North-South transport corridor, as well as a $500 million framework loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank. According to Armenian authorities, the total cost of the project is estimated at $1.5-$2 billion. -0-