ArmInfo. Undoubtedly, the opening of alternative roads is a priority for any country. This January 29 on the summing up of the results of 2017, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated, referring to the prospects of opening an alternative to Upper Lars road from Georgia through Abkhazia, or through South Ossetia to Russia.
"Regarding the Russian-Georgian talks, as well as our interest, which we have repeatedly spoken about, it is of course that the opening of alternative roads is a priority for any country, and, of course, this issue has been discussed many times both with our Russian and Georgian partners, statements were also made that the Georgian side signed an agreement with the Swiss side on the basis of which this issue will go along the channel of permission. The Russian side in turn stated that soon, The procedure will be signed with Russia, but this is a delicate negotiation process, and if it was necessary to make a statement on this matter, it would certainly be mentioned, perhaps with the Georgian, or Russian, or with the Armenian side When this process reaches the final stage, which we are certainly interested in, it will be possible to provide more detailed information," Nalbandian concluded.
Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that the agreement on mechanisms for customs administration and monitoring of goods between Russia and Georgia had made the necessary clarity as to where the customs borders of the Georgian side pass. "This is the Kazbegi region on the border with Russia, a place south of the Inguri River (beyond which the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia begins) and the neighborhood of Gori (near the border with the Republic of South Ossetia)," Karasin said in an interview with Kommersant. In view of the disagreements in the positions, the special representative of the Georgian prime minister can put these questions in the course of the next meeting with Karasin, which is planned in Prague on January 31.
Agreements on customs administration and goods monitoring mechanisms were reached after in 2011 the third president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, lifted the veto for Russia's accession to the WTO, but only on the condition that through the territories that are not controlled by the Georgian authorities - Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region - corridors from Russia, as well as the parties will invite international mediators to control the flow of goods and their marking. The choice fell on the Swiss company SGS, with which six years after the signing of the agreement, Georgia signed a contract. Russia welcomed this decision, but is not in a hurry to sign the contract.
As explained by Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili, the agreement with SGS allows transportation of goods to Russia through the Tskhinvali region, which is not controlled by official Tbilisi, if there is an emergency on the way to Kazbegi-Upper Lars CCI.