Tuesday, July 13 2021 18:09
Alina Hovhannisyan

EU to allocate 600 million euros for the construction of the southern  section of the North-South highway

EU to allocate 600 million euros for the construction of the southern  section of the North-South highway

ArmInfo.For the construction of the Sisian-Kajaran section of the North-South highway, the European Union intends to allocate 600 million euros to Armenia. This  was announced to reporters today by the acting Minister of  Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia Suren  Papikyan during his visit to Shirak region to get acquainted with the  progress of construction work on the Talin-Gyumri section.

This amount, according to him, will allow to announce a tender for  the construction of this section in August. At the same time,  Papikyan noted that even without EU funding, the Armenian government  was ready to announce a tender for the construction of the site,  since the design and estimate documentation is already fully  prepared. In the absence of other sources of funding, as noted by the  acting Minister, the government would use its own funds for the  tender. "But now it is very good that additional resources have  appeared, now we will understand how to organize everything," he  said.

The official also recalled the interest of the Iranian side in the  construction work of the southern section along the line of building  bridges and tunnels. In this regard, he noted that elections were  completed in the Islamic Republic of Iran yesterday and a new  government is being formed, after which negotiations on this topic  will continue.

In total, according to Papikyan, only $ 1.2 billion will be required  for the construction of tunnels in the southern section to Kajaran,  and another $ 250 million - to the town of Agarak.  Regarding the  Talin-Gyumri section, the acting minister noted that according to the  assurance of the work of the Chinese contractors, one part of the  section with a length of 50 km will be ready for operation in  September of this year.

Note that the North-South project will reduce the distance from the  Iranian border to the Georgian border from 556 to 490 kilometers. The  road will significantly facilitate access to the Black Sea not only  for Armenia, but also for Iran.

The project is initially funded with a loan from the Asian  Development Bank. A corresponding agreement with ADB on the provision  of half a billion dollars was signed by the Armenian government in  September 2009. Subsequently, the EFSD joined the project, agreeing  to provide $ 150 million.  It was envisaged that the construction of  the highway would be completed first in 2016, then in 2019, but to  date, only a part of the work has been completed and the terms of the  project have been postponed again by 10 years. In general, according  to various estimates, the project is estimated at $ 2 billion,  although initially it was planned to allocate only $ 980 million for  its implementation.  As expected by the Armenian authorities, the  program will allow the country in the future to mitigate the  consequences of the blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey, play the role  of a transit state in the cargo transportation of the countries of  the region, as well as join the Black Sea Ring Highway.  Last year,  the project was temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus  pandemic.

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