Sarkisian Hints at Turkish Rail Link to Bulgaria

LOS ANGELES–Armenia and Bulgaria will see a boost in economic activity as barriers to trade and transport between the two ex-soviet countries come down in the coming months, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian told reporters Thursday after talks in Sofia with his Bulgarian counterpart, Georgi Parvanov, Armradio reported.

“It’s more likely than not, that that in the coming months, Armenia and Bulgaria will have the ability to interact with direct land links,” Sarkisian said, noting the likelihood of establishing rail links between the two countries through Turkey.

Armenia and Bulgaria have faced serious challenges transporting goods between one another ever since Turkey closed its eastern border with Armenia in 1993, blocking the only direct land link between them.

Armenia’s relations with Turkey were high on the agenda of talks between the two presidents in the Bulgarian capital. Sarkisian briefed Purvanov on the current stage of border negotiations with Turkey, noting that a solution to “transport problem” caused by the Turkish blockade would promote economic ties between the two.

The normalizing of Armenian-Turkish relations will establish direct links of communication and trade between Armenia and Bulgaria, the two said, with Parvanov describing the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border as a great benefit to Armenia and Bulgaria.

Sarkisian arrived in Sofia Tuesday seeking to boost trade relations and cooperation between the countries in nuclear energy, according to the Novinite Sofia News Agency. He met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev and Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski.

“Economic relations between Bulgaria and Armenia are lagging behind the active political dialogue between the two countries.” President Parvanov was quoted by Novinite as saying.

“The two countries have good traditions in the energy sector and have serious intentions to develop nuclear power engineering,” President Purvanov was quoted by BSANA News as saying during the press conference.

Following their talks, the two presidents signed bilateral agreemen’s outlining tariff policies, and cooperation in cultural, and administrative capacities.


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