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Baku and Tbilisi set to bridge East and West2010-07-28 18:34
It's been two weeks since Georgia and Azerbaijan have been actively discussing transport and energy spheres, two priorities of economic development. This is transportation of liquefied natural gas to Romania, construction of a power transmission line between Azerbaijan and Turkey and extension of the transport corridor between Asia and Europe. All these projects sound ambitious but do they have any economic sense and are they really feasible? This is what GeorgiaTimes discussed with Yuri Borovski, an expert on energy issues, docent of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Georgia Khukhashvili, an economy expert in Georgia.
These days power industry and transport are two main concerns of Georgia's and Azerbaijan's best minds. These spheres of economic interaction between two countries were also discussed at last Friday's intergovernmental meeting in Baku.
The intergovernmental consultations in Baku resulted in a memorandum on extension of the transport corridor that envisages creation of a special group to work out recommendations on the issue. Azerbaijan explains necessity of the extension by growing trade turnover with Georgia that acknowledges increase in flow of goods from China which makes implementation of this project indispensible.
Construction of a power transmission line to Turkey (the so-called "Power Bridge") was referred to as the most important transnational project after Baku-Tbilisi-Jeykhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum by Georgia's energy minister Alexander Khetaguri.
Preliminary agreement on LNG transportation from Azerbaijan to Romania via Georgia was not neglected either. It will be remembered that the relevant memorandum was signed this May by the ministers of the three countries. On a visit to Azerbaijan Georgia's energy minister stated with pathos that the LNG transportation project will be financed by the EU modestly adding that he meant a tender for the project implementation that could be of interest to the European Union. For the time being the project has not been analyzed for feasibility, neither has an enterprise been created in Romania for these purposes.
To understand where there is economic and political essence of the projects and where there are vague prospects of the far future, GeorgiaTimes had a talk with two experts.
Georgi Khukhashvili: transportation of electric energy and LNG seem feasible projects while transport corridor extension is a strategic issue.