The Friendship Bridge has been opened on the border of Armenia and Georgia. What do the PMs say about it?
New bridge on the Armenian-Georgian border
On August 19, the official opening ceremony of the Friendship Bridge took place on the border of Armenia and Georgia. On this occasion, the prime ministers of Armenia and Georgia met at the Bagratashen section of the border.
The Armenian side has reported that Nikol Pashinyan and Irakli Garibashvili “had a conversation” during which they discussed the role of the new bridge “in facilitating bilateral traffic flows.”
All the details about the construction of the bridge, what the prime ministers of Armenia and Georgia talked about, and what they said at the opening ceremony.
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Recently, contacts between the authorities of Armenia and Georgia have become noticeably more frequent. The opening ceremony of the bridge was another occasion for the Prime Ministers to confab. According to the Armenian side, Pashinyan and Gharibashvili
- “discussed issues on the agenda of Armenian-Georgian cooperation,
- exchanged views on regional developments,
- reaffirmed their readiness to deepen friendly ties and continue active dialogue.”
“The heads of the governments of Armenia and Georgia noted that frequent high-level contacts testify to the development of Armenian-Georgian relations and a high level of political dialogue,” the statement says.
The new bridge was built in a year
Friendship Bridge, which is 160m long, was built across the Debed River. Construction began about a year ago. At the time, Yerevan reported that the bridge was outdated, damaged, and “no longer able to provide passenger and freight traffic between the two countries.” They also spoke of the need to create technically-equipped infrastructure with greater capacity.
The construction of the bridge was supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The loan agreement for the border modernization project was signed in 2012. In 2014, an agreement was signed by the governments of Armenia and Georgia on the establishment of an intergovernmental commission to undertake this joint project, but construction began only in 2021.
According to preliminary calculations, the new bridge will increase the traffic between Armenia and Georgia fourfold – so a hefty increase in trade is expected.
The old bridge will serve as an alternative road in case of emergency, during traffic jams and accidents.
“A solid foundation for cooperation” – Pashinyan
According to the Prime Minister of Armenia, the new bridge creates “a solid foundation for further cooperation and deepening of relations” with Georgia.
Nikol Pashinyan spoke of the great potential of Armenian-Georgian trade and economic relations. He also said that “commodity turnover has increased by 97% compared to the same period last year.”
The Armenian Prime Minister stated that there are real opportunities for deepening cooperation in industry, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, information technology and communications, transport, energy, tourism and other areas:
“The priority of the transport sector in the framework of our bilateral cooperation and interaction within a number of international transport structures allow us to take real steps not only along the Persian Gulf-Black Sea international transport corridor, but also other initiatives that provide a key link in the transport sector.”
“The bridge makes the whole region strong” – Garibashvili
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that the new bridge “makes us, our countries, the entire region stronger”:
“The 160m four-lane bridge, built on the territory of the two states, is a rare project in the region. It doubles transport capacity at the border, improves the quality of security for both citizens and guests of both countries, and aids the transit of vehicles. And this, in turn, will further strengthen trade and economic relations.”
Garibashvili believes that the Friendship Bridge will have strategic importance as “an important part of the international east-west road.”
New bridge on the Armenian-Georgian border