AFP: Armenia and Iran agreed Friday to build a railway to link the two countries as part of a new transit route from Central Asia to the Black Sea, officials said.
YEREVAN (AFP) — Armenia and Iran agreed Friday to build a railway to link the two countries as part of a new transit route from Central Asia to the Black Sea, officials said.
The 470-kilometre (292-mile) railway will take five years and cost up to 1.2 billion dollars (892 million euros) to be financed by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Iranian Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani said.
"The railway construction will amount to a restoration of the historic Silk Road," Behbahani said at a press conference after signing a memorandum with his Armenian counterpart, Gurgen Sargsian.
"The railway will ensure transport links from South and Central Asia, the Far East, through Iran and Armenia's territory towards Georgia's Black Sea ports," Sargsian said.
Landlocked Armenia is seeking closer ties with Iran because of an economic blockade imposed by neighbours Azerbaijan and traditional foe Turkey.
The United States has raised concerns about Armenia's warming ties with Iran, with the top US diplomat in Yerevan saying in June that the country should join in international sanctions aimed at convincing Iran to halt its nuclear programme.