Armenia will not benefit from reopening of transport links in the South Caucasus, economist says

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YEREVAN, January 15. /ARKA/. Armenia will not benefit from the reopening of transport links in the South Caucasus, proposed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, economist Hrant Mikaelyan said on Friday.

On January 11, the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a statement that calls for reopening of all transport communications in the South Caucasus region. The parties also agreed on creating a trilateral working group under the joint chairmanship of deputy prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia to deal with that issue.

“The length of the part of the proposed railway from Armenia to Azerbaijan is 2.3 times longer to Russia than the motor road through Georgia. As for the Iranian direction, the concern is that part of the proposed road is to be controlled by Azerbaijan,” Mikaelyan said.

According to Mikaelyan, the disparity is that the section of the proposed road through Armenia is to be controlled by Russian forces, and Armenian authorities will not be able to fully control or close it if necessary.

According to the economist, if all roads and economic contacts are reestablished, then opportunities will soon open up in the direction of Turkey rather than Azerbaijan. This may help Armenia have one percent annual growth.

“The only plus for Armenia is the possibility of diversifying the structure of its foreign trade through reorientation to Western markets, rather than Russia,” Mikaelyan said.

In addition, as the economist noted, Turkey has very good positions in Georgia and it will be easier for it to enter Armenia.

“This may lead to a loss of opportunities by Armenian agricultural producers and small businesses and an increase in unemployment. The economic opportunities are very modest, and the political risks are very high and insurmountable in the current environment. In such conditions, I do not see any opportunities for economic development and recovery growth, especially since human and territorial losses will slow down our economic development,” Mikaelyan said.

In his words, in such conditions, the share of Turkish goods in the Armenian trade turnover can increase 4 times.

According to the economist, statements that unblocking communications are beneficial to Armenia are trying to cover up decisions unfavorable for the country. -0-

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