WORLD BANK, ASSIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK INTERESTED IN ARMENIA-IRAN RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

ARKA
Oct 31, 2008

YEREVAN, October 31. /ARKA/. The World Bank (WB) and the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) are interested in construction of Armenia-Iran
railway, RA Minister of Transport and Communication Gurgen Sargsyan
reported during today's parliamentary discussions on the draft
2009 budget.

Armenia is negotiating over ADB's possible participation in the
project, the minister added.

Sargsyan showed comprehension to Russia's statements that it will gain
nothing the railway construction project. "If it is two-or-three-year
payback, we can understand those arguments. However, we speak about
a railway that has a strategic importance for Armenia," the minister
was quoted saying.

President of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin formerly said the
company had no intention to allocate concession funds for construction
of Iran-Armenia railway.

At the same time, the transport minister said Yakunin's statements
concern the funds provided by the concession agreement.

The Russian Railways is to allocate 175bln drams for the Armenian
railway in 30 years, Sargsyan said, adding the agreement has nothing
to do with Iran-Armenia railway construction.

"Financing of this project is a different matter. The feasibility
study on the project is under way and the Armenian president has
reckoned it among national programs," the minister said.

Rail communication with Iran will enable Armenia to boost exports and
gain new markets. Currently Georgia is the only link between Armenia
and the outside world.