ArmInfo. Armenia holds negotiations with Georgia and Russia aimed at opening alternative road to Russia through territory of South Ossetia, Armenia's Minister of Transport Gagik Beglaryan stated today after the government's session.
" 'Upper Lars' road will be opened maximum in 10-14 days", Beglaryan stated referring to the sources in the government of Georgia. According to him daily work is being held with the Georgian authorities and counterparts from Russia on the problem of closure of Upper Lars border crossing point.
The Minister also informed that negotiations are being held with the Georgian side in order to have an alternative road. The Minister noted that negotiations via diplomatic channels with the Russian side are also being held to reach agreement on the necessary steps. "As of today there is an opportunity to open a road through the territory of South Ossetia. The road is in good condition", the Minister informed noting that the negotiations are held simultaneously both with Tbilisi and Moscow as "in this case it depends very little on Armenia".
"The situation in the Upper Lars checkpoint is in the focus of the government", Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for International Economic Integration and Reforms of Armenia Vache Gabrielyan stated during government's session today. He informed that Russian government has provided a plane for transporting the citizens from the border. Russian Ministry of Agriculture has transported 96 passengers in Vladikavkaz-Yerevan direction; remaining 120 people will be transported today. On June 27 72 trucks arrived in Novorossiysk by Varna-Batumi-Novorossiysk ferry and are being unloaded. The cargos to be delivered to Armenia will reach Batumi on July 3. The Deputy Prime Minister noted that the tickets for Batumi-Novorossiysk ferry for July 4 are on sale. The first 55 trucks laden with fresh vegetables and fruits had left Poti for Novorossiysk by ferry rented by Spayka LLC. As of June 30 Spayka LLC has rented the second ferry to Poti. According to the information there are 15-20 vehicles gathered on Georgia's territory not considering the cars which have not still left Armenia's territory or are on Armenian-Georgian borderline territory. There are 40-50 cars gathered on the Russian side, a lot of trucks are gathered near Vladikavakaz. "The matter concerns not only Armenian cars", Gabrielyan noted. There are gatherings near Krasnodar and Rostov. The Deputy Prime Minister noted that according to the Ministry of Agriculture 10 thousand tons of apricots have already been exported another 5 thousand will be exported. He urged all the freight forwarders to book spaces on ferries prior to leaving Armenia in order to avoid gatherings. Referring to the sources in the Georgian government Gabrielyan noted that currently the river, which had broken its banks, has resumed its natural course by 50%, the rehabilitation activities continue. According to preliminary data the work may last from two to three weeks.
To recall, on June 23 Mtskheta-Stepantsminda-Lars road was closed because of debris flow. To note, the only overland road linking Armenia to Russia lies through the Upper Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border.