US Wants Kars-Baku Railway to Run Through Armenia, Bryza Says

BAKU (Armenpress)–"We have always backed all projects which are designed to boost transport links between neighbor countries and we have been trying to develop projects aimed at linking the West and East and certainly we would like that a railway that is supposed to connect Turkey with Azerbaijan runs through Armenia," said Matthew Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs and the U.S. cochairman of the OSCE Minsk Group. Bryza added that the U.S. administration could not block the construction of a railway that Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan want to build, but added that the U.S. hopes that in the near future a transportation scheme that will include all the countries of the region will be developed. In December, President George W. Bush signed into law a resolution imposing a ban on U.S. financing of a proposed railroad that would bypass Armenia. The proposed new Caucasus rail line–at the urging of Turkey and Azerbaijan–would circumvent Armenia. Promoters of the project have sought, even at the planning stages, to secure U.S. financing for this undertaking, prompting Congressional friends of Armenia to preemptively block such attempts. In October of 2005, the European Commission voiced official opposition to the proposed Caucasus railroad bypass of Armenia. A formal statement by the Commission’s Directorate General for Transport and Energy noted that its construction was both unnecessary and inefficient in light of the existing railroad connecting Kars, Gumri and Tbilisi.

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