He explained that the issue was discussed during the visit of the Russian delegation headed by First Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Kazbek Taysaev to Yerevan in November.
“The Georgian-Abkhazian border is closed, but there are international conventions that allow for the flow of food products along the specified route. And we would like to use the Abkhazian road, communication routes. But this requires political will in Georgia itself,” Sandykov said.
According to him, the so-called “grain deal” gave ground for reflection. Therefore, the Armenian side voiced its proposal to the Russian colleagues-parliamentarians, they took it into account and promised to work it out.
Sandykov noted that the issue will be discussed already at the upcoming meeting of relevant committees in Moscow in early 2023. If this idea is supported by the Russian side, then Yerevan will make efforts and discuss the issue with its Georgian counterparts.
The parliamentarian believes that this will be an excellent opportunity to unload the road through Lars. The MP called the current situation with the Georgian military road “difficult and requiring elaboration.”
In this context, Sandykov recalled that a few days ago, Armenia ratified an agreement on navigation seals with the EAEU.
“Electronic seals allow you to track all logistics online and go through customs procedures in electronic format, while the truck may not stop at the border,” Sandykov explained, adding that even this will not save the situation today on Lars, which still remains one one of the busiest land border crossings in Russia.
The MP noted that in view of the prevailing geopolitical realities, it is this customs point that receives the main flow of goods, which negatively affects the Armenian business, and, first of all, the carriers.
This issue is acute at all levels of government. In this regard, Sandykov recalled that in 2019, thanks, among other things, to the efforts of the Armenian side, Russia invested in improving the infrastructure of the customs checkpoint. As a result, the capacity of the checkpoint “Verkhniy Lars” increased from 150-200 vehicles crossing the checkpoint per day to 900.
As for the launch of a ferry service and alternative ways to diversify goods through Iran, the deputy noted that everything depends on logistics – in terms of time, money, and administrative procedures.
The parliamentarian believes that the implementation of the tripartite statement between Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unblocking of all transport communications are primarily aimed at diversifying goods and passenger flow through the borders of those countries that, for obvious reasons, are closed.