The South Caucasus will be opened? What happens if it opens?
On the one hand, Georgian Prime Minister Ivanishvili settles with President Saakashvili and his party, on the other hand he does not neglect to deal with his country's relations with its neighbors.
In this context, Ivanishvili makes important visits to its neighbors. Ivanisvili, who will come to Ankara this week, previously visited Baku at 26 December 2012 and later visited Yerevan at 17 January 2013. During the visit of Ivanishvili to Baku, the relations between the two countries were discussed in a conventional manner and as a result, no new issue emerged. Unlike Baku, many new and remarkable issues have emerged during the visit to Yerevan.
The most important of these is the fact that Ivanishvili clearly stated that the South Caucasus railway line connecting Yerevan to Russia could be opened again. This line connects both Georgia and Armenia to Russia via Abkhazia. However, this line has been closed since the 1992 Georgian-Abkhaz War. Therefore, Armenia has not had a railway connection with Russia for years. Likewise Karabakh conflict Armenia so there is no rail link to the side of Turkey. In short, Armenia has not been able to open to the outside world by rail for years. He is trying to compensate for this deficiency by using the ports of Batumi and Poti in Georgia. These ports are able to trade and export to a great extent.
In fact, the team of Ivanishvili first mentioned this issue last November; however, he preferred to close the issue at the time due to the lack of interest of the Abkhaz administration and the reactions of Azerbaijan. As we said, the topic has been reopened with the declaration of Ivanishvili. Moreover, this time, the Abkhazian leader Ankvab announced that they could discuss the issue when properly approached, and Ivanishvili's approach was strengthened. It seems to us that there is a strong possibility that this positive statement of the Abkhazian leader was supported by Russia and perhaps even put forward by Russia's will.
Russia's own national interests are undoubtedly behind this attitude, which has yet to be fully clarified, to reopen the line. When the line was opened, Russia had experienced difficulties in terms of logistic support in recent years. will be able to support its base more easily by rail, and will make progress in strengthening the political legitimacy of Abkhazia, which is under the control of the Abkhazian part of the line.
In particular, because of this latest issue, Georgian President Saakashvili has harshly opposed Prime Minister Ivanishvili's idea of reopening this railway, which is a very problematic issue. Saakashvili says that Russia controls both the Armenian and Abkhazian parts of the pipeline, so opening the pipeline would mean Georgia's indirect acceptance of Russia's right to the Abkhaz line, which would legitimize the occupation of this region. Shaakashvili also stated that the line problem could only be solved by ending the occupation in Abkhazia and emphasizing that Georgia should not take a single step. This is how the line that Ivanishvili proposed to open has led to controversy in Georgia as well.
On the other hand, the Armenian leadership seems very pleased with the possibility of opening the line. As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Sargsyan says that they expect a rush solution on this issue and that they will make every effort to make the line work efficiently.
There is no doubt that the opening of the line will play an important role in decreasing the isolation of Armenia and will strengthen the trade and exports. It can also be said that the line is likely to change the overall status quo in the South Caucasus to some extent. When the line can be opened, it is difficult to say; but it is a fact that this possibility has emerged strongly with the power of Ivanishvili. These issues are undoubtedly also Turkey, Azerbaijan closely and which is very important. In this respect, we should not neglect the Southern Caucasus.
Source : http://www.zaman.com.tr