YEREVAN — The Armenian government has secured over 21 million euros ($23 million) in funding from the European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for its plans to modernize and expand Armenia’s sole border crossing with Iran.
Finance Minister Atom Janjughazian and the head of the EBRD office in Armenia, Dimitri Gvindadze, signed on Friday agreements to that effect at a ceremony in Yerevan.
In a short statement, the Armenian Finance Ministry said EU grants will make up just over half of the sum needed for the project’s implementation. An EBRD loan will presumably pay the rest of the bill.
The statement did not specify when work on the new Armenian-Iranian border facilities, located near the southeastern town of Meghri, will start and be completed.
The Meghri checkpoint processes up to one-third of goods shipped to and from landlocked Armenia.
Also, Iran is a major trading partner of the South Caucasus state. According to Armenian government data, Armenian-Iranian trade rose by 12 percent, to $409 million, last year despite U.S. sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Armenia has already rebuilt and upgraded in recent years its three border crossings with Georgia, its most important commercial conduit to the outside world. The $60 million project completed in 2017 was mostly financed by the EU in the form of a loan and a grant.