Tuesday, December 5 2023 14:22
Alexandr Avanesov

Armenia could serve as a bridge between India, Iran and EAEU  member-states - Mnastakan Safaryan 

Armenia could serve as a bridge between India, Iran and EAEU  member-states - Mnastakan Safaryan 

ArmInfo. Armenia could serve as a bridge between India, Iran and EAEU member-states, Armenia's  Deputy FM Mnatsakan Safaryan stated at the conference entitled "New Regional Realities and the 'Crossroads of Peace'" which has opened in Yerevan.

According to him, Armenia strives to develop traditionally good  neighborly relations with Iran, and active steps are being taken to  build up the economic component in bilateral relations, including  within the framework of multilateral cooperation. In this context,  Yerevan notes the importance of joint efforts in implementing  programs aimed at developing regional cargo transportation,  infrastructure, transport communications, as well as energy projects  of mutual interest. Iran is Armenia's fourth partner in terms of  trade volumes, and the most important transit route for cargo  transportation towards Asia and the Middle East.

As the Deputy Minister emphasized, the opening of borders with Turkey  can also play a decisive role. An agreement has already been reached  to open borders to third-country citizens holding diplomatic  passports.  "We hope that this significant step will be implemented  in the near future," Safaryan said.

As for India, as the Deputy Minister emphasized, Armenia has always  shown interest in the cultural heritage of this country. Over the  past 30 years, traditionally friendly relations with India have been  consistently strengthened, and over the past three years, these ties  have begun to develop at an accelerated pace, especially when it  comes to political dialogue. The development of relations between  Yerevan and New Delhi is one of Armenia's foreign policy priorities.  Most recently, a new format of cooperation between Armenia, Iran and  India was launched. In April of this year, the first negotiations  between representatives of the Foreign Ministries of the three states  were held, during which economic problems and ways to solve them, as  well as areas for deepening cooperation in the field of culture were  discussed.

"Armenia can become a bridge between India, Iran and the EAEU  countries. "Since Iran has an agreement on a Free Trade Area with the  EAEU, and India is at the stage of negotiations on a similar legal  mechanism, Armenia as a member of the Union can be a bridge for  Tehran, New Delhi and other members of the Organization," Safaryan  said, adding, that in this regard, the Persian Gulf - Black Sea  corridor can become an additional incentive for expanding  cooperation.

In turn, Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Mehdi Sobhani emphasized that  the transport corridor from India through Iran and Armenia will  become a reliable direction towards Europe. He added that Iran's  border with Armenia is short in length, but one of the best in  quality. It has always been the border of peace and friendship.

The diplomat emphasized that relations between Armenia and Tehran are  developing in different directions.  Trade turnover between the two  countries has reached $1 billion. Both countries have mutually  beneficial projects in energy and infrastructure. "We are also trying  to explore the hidden potential of our countries.  There is no doubt  that transit infrastructure, as well as the opening of regional  communications, will not only help strengthen bilateral relations,  but will also open the way to regional development," the Iranian  ambassador said.

In this context, the diplomat pointed out the importance of the  transport corridor from the Indian port of Chabahar to Armenia and  further to Georgian ports on the Black Sea, which will become a  reliable route for sending goods to the North and Europe. The  development of this road, according to Sobhani, will insure countries  from the effects of external factors. "The more communication routes  countries have, the more important they will become in the world.  Iran supports the territorial integrity of Armenia, peace and  stability in the region," concluded the Iranian diplomat.

Meanwhile, as Indian Ambassador to Armenia Nilakshi Saha Sinha noted,  New Delhi welcomes Yerevan's decision to become a participant in the  Chabahar port development project and is ready to work with Yerevan  within the framework of the North-South road transport corridor.  "India and Iran are closely cooperating within the framework of the  North-South corridor, which connects the Persian Gulf countries with  the Caspian Sea, the Russian Federation and the EU. Armenia is also  part of the project, and we are ready to work with it to understand  how it can benefit from the functioning of this corridor," the  diplomat said. She also emphasized that increasing economic flows to  Asia opens up new opportunities for countries in the region. The  Ambassador emphasized that India proposed to include the Chabahar  port in the North- South ITC project, and this will soon become a  reality. "Armenia is developing its infrastructure and logistics  capabilities from the Iranian border in the south to the Georgian  border in the north. Some Indian companies are interested in this  project. We are ready to participate in the implementation of  infrastructure programs in Armenia," said the Indian diplomat.

Back in 2016, Iran put forward a regional initiative to expand the  international transport and transit corridor "Persian Gulf - Black  Sea", which, in addition to the Islamic Republic itself, includes  Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece.  This multimodal corridor starts from the Persian Gulf and southern  Iran, then runs north across the country and then into Armenia and/or  Azerbaijan, from where it reaches the Georgian ports of Poti and  Batumi on the Black Sea. From there, ships with wheeled vehicles  carrying cargo cross the Black Sea, heading to the Bulgarian ports  (Burgas and Varna), after which the cargo is sent again by road to  Greece and further to the EU. After four rounds of expert  negotiations - in Tehran (2016), Sofia (2017), Tbilisi (2018) and  again in Tehran (2019), the fifth meeting of experts on this corridor  was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of  Armenia in Yerevan April 19, 2021.  

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