The Georgian government denies discussing with Armenia the issue of railroad through Abkhazia
The Georgian authorities may secretly discuss the resumption of railroad communication through Abkhazia, representatives of the opposition United National Movement believe.
At the special press conference party`s representative Nika Rurua said, there are “grounded suspicions”, that the issue had been discussed during the Armenian prime-minister`s visit to Georgia on February 23-24.
The nervousness can be explained by the statement made by the Armenian prime-minister Karen Karapetyan in Tbilisi. Answering the journalists questions he said: “If you are interested, whether there is an alternative to Lars (border check point on the Georgian-Russian border, the only overland route from Armenia to Russia), I can assure you, that yes, there is. I cannot reveal everything. We have reached agreement on Lars and the energy corridor”, Karapetyan said.
The Armenian prime-minister could have in mind the Abkhazian part of the railroad, National Movement believes.
“Reopening of the railroad communication through Abkhazia is unacceptable. It would mean open betrayal of the national interests, a step, from which only Russia and separatists are to gain, and Georgia is to lose with less goods shipped through the Georgian ports, and our relations with Azerbaijan worsening”, Nika Rurua said. He demanded, that the authorities make the issue clear, threatening otherwise with “popular unrest”.
European Georgia supported the protest, demanding full clarity from the government on the talks.
But the Georgian vice-premier Kakha Kaladze responded, that there were no discussions of the railroad through Abkhazia during the visit, moreover the government is not considering the issue, He claimed, the opposition statements were false. Zurab Abashidze also categorically denied any talks on the issue of the Abkhazian railroad. “The issue is the one of the Georgian territorial integrity”, Abashidze said.
At he same time there were no statements made on any agreements on transit through Georgia after the Armenian delegation made it home. The issue of reopening railroad through Abkhazia has been raised by many since 2012, when the new government came to power in Georgia, including prime-minister Ivanishvili and president Putin. Each time it caused strong negative reaction on the part of opposition and part of the society.
The main obstacle to resuming railroad communication is the status of Abkhazia, whose idependance was officially recognized by Russia after the 2008 war. JAMnews review on the issue.