TRACECA Envoy Praises Program

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– During a meeting with Armenian reporters–the European Union’s envoy to Georgia and Armenia Denis Corboy–stressed that the goal of the TRACECA Program of the European Union is to create new roads connecting Europe with Asia in addition to existing traditional communications. On August 24–during a banquet with journalists he announced that at present the existing mains which basically traverse Russia–are very overloaded. Corboy expressly stated that the program is not aimed against the interest of any state–its goals are determined by joint decisions of the eleven participating countries.

The TRACECA Program was founded in 1993 in Brussels during a meeting of three Caucasian and five Central Asian republics (with the participation of the European Union). It’s goal is to form a new motor and railroad corridor connecting Europe and Asia via the Transcaucasus. Later–Ukraine and Moldova joined the program. Corboy emphasized that the European Union is not interested in the international isolation of any country–including Armenia. In particular–one of the preparatory programs of technical assistance to Armenian and Georgian is being sponsored by the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

According to the envoy–regional conflicts hinder the full participation of Caucasian countries in the program. The European Union fully relies on the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the Karabakh conflict and stands by it in order to avoid further complications of the situation. Asked whether the European Union really displays certain behavior in avoidance of difficulties arising as a result of regional conflicts (for example–the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border–which wasn’t directly connected with any conflict)–Corboy said: "We welcome the opening of any kind of border."

Corboy ignored rumors that TRACECA is aimed against the interests of Russia–adding that Russia had never minded TRACECA activities. It is impossible to simultaneously sponsor mains in all possible directions–and for that reason preference was given to the East-West direction–said the envoy. At the same time–it’s beyond suspicion that the development of communication means in the East-West direction will also promote the development of motor transport networks in neighboring countries.

Corboy reported that the goal of next month’s TRACECA conference in Baku is to sign a multilateral agreement on transport issues to strengthen the general principles of activities in the sphere of transport for all participating countries.

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