Armenia and Georgia said at the weekend that they are pressing ahead with plans to jointly operate their border crossings in an effort to facilitate travel and commerce between the two neighboring states.
The issue appears to have featured large during a regular session of a Georgian-Armenian inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation that was held in the Georgian Black city of Batumi. It was chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri and his visiting Armenian counterpart, Tigran Sarkisian.
The two men announced plans for joint border control after talks held in Yerevan last February. They said their governments will start soon negotiations on a bilateral agreement that will authorize Armenian and Georgian customs services to jointly manage the flow of people, vehicles and goods through the Georgian-Armenian frontier.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Batumi, Sarkisian and Gilauri reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement but gave no dates for its signing.
“We have already implemented such a project on the Turkish-Georgian border at Sarpi [crossing] and it has proved to be very effective … We want to do the same on the Armenian-Georgian border and, I hope, as soon as possible,” Gilauri said.
“As the Georgian prime minister pointed out, we want to introduce a new methodology of customs taxation and to view our customs posts as joint ones, which will make it more convenient for our citizens and businesses to cross the Armenian-Georgian border,” Sarkisian said for his part.
The Armenian premier implied that this will be done after the upcoming $58 million reconstruction of Armenia’s three border crossings with Georgia which will be financed by the European Union.