YEREVAN(RFE/RL) — Top energy officials from Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Russia will meet in Tbilisi next month for further negotiations on boosting power supplies among their countries, Armenian Energy Minister Levon Yolian confirmed on Thursday.
The Armenian, Georgian and Iranian energy ministers as well as the chief executive of a leading Russian electric utility already met in Yerevan for that purpose in late December. The Armenian government said after that meeting that the four nations could create a common energy market after the construction of two new power transmission lines connecting Armenia with Georgia and Iran.
Yolian reaffirmed Armenia’s hopes to become a major transit route for mutual electricity and gas supplies among them. “Quite active work is underway to involve Armenia’s territory and energy sector in regional processes,” he told reporters.
Yolian said the fresh talks on the issue are scheduled to start in the Georgian capital on April 11. He added that the energy ministers of the four states will take part in them.
The Georgian Energy Ministry similarly reported on Monday that the four-party meeting will be held in Tbilisi next month. “A Georgian delegation already held negotiations on this project in Yerevan, and these negotiations are due to continue in Tbilisi,” the ministry said in a statement to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The statement came as Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak visited Tehran and met with his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchian. Novak reportedly said after the meeting that Russia and Iran are discussing the creation of a joint “electricity supply network” that would run through Armenia and Azerbaijan. He gave no further details.
In a statement on the December talks in Yerevan, the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said Russia, Iran, Armenia and Georgia are exploring ways of establishing a “regional energy market.”
In that regard, the ministry stressed the importance of the ongoing construction of a third and a more powerful high-voltage transmission line that will run from Armenia to Iran. Officials in Yerevan say the $120 million facility, which is due to go on stream in 2018, will enable Armenia to quadruple exports of electricity to the Islamic Republic.
The ministry also emphasized that Armenia and Georgia will soon start building a similar line that will make their power grids more interconnected. The $115 million project, also slated for completion by 2018, is financed by Germany’s state-run development bank KfW and the European Union.