ArmInfo. With the complete exclusion of the political aspect, the transport corridor that will pass through Abkhazia may become an alternative to Upper Lars. The director of the large transport and freight forwarding company Apaven Gagik Aghajanyan expressed this opinion on June 6 at the press conference.
"I've been waiting for the responsible people to present the real results of the visit of our Prime Minister to Georgia, but we have not heard anything, except for the words that the negotiations on the implementation of the alternative to the Upper Lars transport corridor project are in the working stage. I have long avoided discussions about this issue, but due to the fact that calls and questions from the media have increased, I decided to take responsibility and speak," he said.
According to Aghajanyan's suggestion, during Karapetyan's stay in Georgia, it was precisely this "Abkhazian" transport corridor, the negotiations on which were started in 2008 between Russia and Georgia. The idea is that, in the agreement between Georgia and Russia on the launch of the transit corridor, Abkhazia as such will not appear. Instead, the notion of a "trade corridor" that begins in Georgia and ends in Russia will be introduced, and its exploitation will take place through a third party, in this case, the Swiss corporation SGS, to which the Georgian side at the customs point will hand over the goods, after which it will be transferred in the Russian Federation. The only condition for the agreement was that there would be no mention of Abkhazia. According to the expert, to date, while maintaining the same conditions, in particular, the complete exclusion of political aspects, the implementation of this initiative is quite possible. "For the first time I say confidently and in a positive way about the opening of an alternative trade corridor," he stressed.
Answering the question of the ArmInfo correspondent about the risks of the project implementation, the head of APAVEN noted that in the framework of these negotiations there are many persons interested in its failure. "Those who oppose the restoration of the transport communication (Aghajanyan did not specify the road or railroad communication in question - Ed.) Through the territory of Abkhazia, believe that this, albeit indirectly, will be recognition of this territory as a separate state, independent of Georgia" he said. According to the expert, some politicians speculate on this issue, introducing themselves as big patriots, than there really is. Aghajanyan stressed that the main obstacle in the implementation of the project could be the political motives of the negotiators, each of which will be guided solely by the interests of his country. However, in this case, according to the expert, the interests of the countries coincide. "Hence it is necessary to take advantage of the uniqueness of this situation", he remarked.
To recall, the checkpoint "Upper Lars", located on the border with the Russian side, and from the Georgian - the checkpoint "Daryal", since the beginning of the 90s of the last century became the only land transport road providing communication between Armenia and Russia. The checkpoint is periodically closed - in the winter due to avalanches, and in the spring - due to mudflows, despite the fact that the Georgian side has done a lot of work to modernize the road and ensure traffic safety. The former Minister of Transport and Communications Gagik Beglaryan said in the summer of 2016 that it is possible to open the road through the territory of South Ossetia: "The road is in good condition, negotiations are being held synchronously with both Tbilisi and Moscow, but very little depends on Armenia in this case". The Armenian side has repeatedly raised the issue of the possibility of opening the Abkhazian section of the railway in talks, both with the Georgian and with the Russian side. But these efforts were not successful either.