Parliament Ratifies Rail Transport Agreement

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s National Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of Armenia’s accession to the Sarakhs inter-state agreement on coordinating rail transport. That agreement was originally signed in 1996 between Azerbaijan–Georgia–Turkmen’stan and Uzbekistan; Ukraine–Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan acceded to it later.

Armenian Transport Minister Yervand Zakarian told parliament deputies that Armenia’s accession to the agreement will contribute to economic integration in the region.

"The political situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not an obstacle to joining this agreement," he said–explaining that rail tariffs between Georgia and Armenia will be halved as a result.

Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Hovhannes Igitian said that the agreement has not only economic but political significance.

Vazgen Safarian of the Progressive United Communist Party predicted that it could promote a solution of the Karabakh dispute. But some deputies expressed doubt that Azerbaijan would abide by its obligations under the agreement after Armenia acceded to it.

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