Azerbaijan has agreed to allocate additional USD 575 million loan to a Georgian state-owned company to complete construction of a railway section, which will link Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia, Ramaz Nikolaishvili, the Georgian minister for regional development and infrastructure, said on May 19.
Nikolaishvili, who was in Baku this week meeting with the Azerbaijani leadership, said, that 80% of the works on the new railway would be completed this year and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would become operational in 2012.
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey launched the railway project in 2007. The project envisages rehabilitation of existing railway section from Marabda in Shida Kartli region to Akhalkalaki, a town in Samtskhe-Javakheti region; plus construction of a new, 30-km long railway section from Akhalkalaki to Kartsakhi at the Turkish border. On the Turkish side, a new 68-km long railway section will be contracted from the town of Kars to the Georgian border. In addition a new railway station will be constructed in Akhalkalaki as part of the project.
In 2007 Azerbaijan agreed to lend USD 200 million to Georgia to finance construction and rehabilitation of its portion of the railway.