BAGRATASHEN — Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian have today announced the construction of a new bridge at the Georgia-Armenia border as a symbol of the friendship between the two neighbouring states.

Construction of the new bridge will begin next year, said the two officials after the opening ceremony of the new Bagratashen border checkpoint, located at the Georgia-Armenia border.

Customs services are provided through the Sadakhlo-Bagratashen checkpoint at the Georgia-Armenia border [one of six checkpoints between the neighboring countries], where the Armenian side is responsible for the Bagratashen checkpoint, while Georgia offers relevant services through the Sadakhlo border facility.

“The planned bridge is expected to further facilitate the quality of service of cargo and passenger traffic between the two countries, provide a time-saving, safe and convenient movement through the border checkpoints,” a statement released by the Armenian president’s press office said.

“It will also improve the quality of passenger service and freight traffic and save time, facilitating trade with Georgia, Russia and European countries,” it added.

Building the new bridge, named Friendship Bridge, at the Sadakhlo-Bagratashen border checkpoint will be completed in less than two years. The bridge will pass over Debed River and ease traffic travelling between the two nations, announced the Georgian and Armenian high officials.

Currently this border crossing area has only a single narrow bridge, built in Soviet times.

The total budget of the program is 52.13 million euros (about $58 million). The purpose of the program is to promote the free movement of people and goods across the borders while observing the border security, as well as to improve both bilateral and regional cooperation. Construction expenses will be covered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) through the support of the two countries’ governments.

After the border checkpoint opening Georgia’s Kvirikashvili and Armenia’s Sarkisian sat down for a meeting and discussed prospects of further developing the friendly neighbourly relations and bilateral cooperation in a range of fields.

Sarkisian and Kvirikashvili also discussed possibilities of expanding trade and economic cooperation, including in the spheres of transportation, energy, tourism, agriculture and others.

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