Russia continues to live in virtual reality
02/12/2009 10:24

In December- January the State Duma of the Russian Federation might ratify a memorandum on construction of circular highway around the Black Sea. As newspaper "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" reported this was said by Sergey Shishkarev, deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC)) during a session of PABSEC that was held recently in Moscow. Eight countries have ratified the document (out of twelve members of PABSEC). According to experts of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and Western Asia (2008), "around-the Black Sea" highway will allow Russia to increase its transit revenues by at least one-third in the Danube-Black Sea-Caucasus region. Transit incomes for other countries - participants of the project will also increase.

It is planned that this four lane highway will connect with each other port cities of all 12 countries - members of PABSEC and some of the capitals the CIS member states, including Baku, Yerevan and Chisinau. Direct road connection will be possible along the route of Novorossiysk-Tuapse-Sochi (Russia), Sukhumi- Poti-Batumi (Georgia). The total length of highways is planned to be 7250 km.

According to Irakli Tskitishvili of "the Club of experts ", any talk about it without first restoring the territorial integrity of Georgia is just another part of Russia's virtual reality.

"On paper it looks more than convincing. If you look at the map, the circular highway can not get around the occupied territory of Georgia - Abkhazia. Construction of roads, which benefits the entire region, is only possible after Georgian authorities approve its construction on the territory of Abkhazia which is now controlled by Russian occupying forces. It is not clear how those countries that will participate in this project are going to persuade Georgia, if its only requirement would be (and we are confident that will be) the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia.

It should also be noted that Abkhazia is not recognized by any of the participating countries, except Russia that occupied it. Therefore, without the restoration of Georgian jurisdiction on this Georgian territory discussion on such massive construction project is just mere talking, "- said Tskitishvili.

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