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    Chinese, Armenian leaders discuss China's participation in Armenia-Iranian railway construction

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    Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has discussed China's participation in a construction of a railway between Armenia and Iran, Armenian state's press-service said Sunday

    Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has discussed China's participation in a construction of a railway between Armenia and Iran, Armenian state's press-service said Sunday.

    Last year the Armenian and Iranian transport ministers signed an agreement to build a railway linking Armenia with Iran's Persian Gulf ports. The construction of the 470-kilometer long railway, with 410 kilometers passing through Armenian territory, is expected to last for at least five years and to cost $1.5-$1.8 billion.

    "Sargsyan said that a development of the relations with China is a priority of Yerevan foreign policy, and noted that bilateral relations do already have a good dynamic of their development," the statement said.

    The sides also noted with satisfaction the successful implementation of various joint projects in energy, chemical industry, agriculture, science and technology, defense, culture and education, stressing that an exploitation of the Shanxi-Nairit joint Armenian-Chinese chloroprene rubber production plant is an important evidence of the development of Armenian-Chinese economic cooperation.

    Last year Armenia reached an agreement with Iran on a $400 million loan for the construction of a railway between the two countries.

    An agreement on the construction of the strategic route was signed by the Armenian transport minister, Gurgen Sargsyan and his Iranian counterpart, Hamed Behbahani, in April 2009 in Tehran.

    The construction of the 500-kilometer (310-mile) railway, with 60 kilometers (37 miles) in Iranian territory, is expected to take at least five years and cost $1.5-$1.8 billion.

    The railway, with the Armenian section connecting the northern city of Sevan to the southern city of Meghri on the border with Iran, will ensure the transportation of energy supplies and other goods, and increase trade between the countries.

    Landlocked Armenia, currently under economic blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, has rail links with other countries only through the territory of Georgia, which is complicated by Tbilisi's often fractious relations with Moscow.

    Russia and Ukraine had also expressed interest in financing the project.

    YEREVAN, May 2 (RIA Novosti)

     

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