YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A news conference was held at the headquarters of the Armenian Democrtic Liberal party of Armenia (Ramkavar-Azatakan)–Wednesday–which dealt with the problem of water resources in the region.
The co-authors of the "The concept of new strategy for Armenia’s foreign economic policy," senior expert in water supply and irrigation system design–Garegin Khanamirian and ADLA Board member Haroutiun Arakelian–said that "the Arabic countries in the Middle East are suffering from lack of water–and their neighbors take advantage of this situation." In particular–Turkey builds dams on the Euphrates and other rivers flowing towards these countries. Because of this–Iran and Qatar profit by selling water (one liter of water for one liter of crude oil).
The co-authors of the Concept estimate Armenia’s drinking water resources are ample. For instance–the Arax river bordering on Azerbaijan supplies this country with 222 cubic meters of water per second. Under the project–a 2,000-km water-main which can supply 10 liters of water per second from the river Arax to the Gulf can be constructed on the border of Armenia’s Meghri region and Iran. Calculations show that Armenia can offer 10 liters of water for one liter of oil and will definitely gain.
The 60-month-long construction will cost six billion drams. According to the authors of the project–10 months after construction all the expenses will be covered–and Armenia will start gaining stable profits. At the second stage of the project’s implementation–dams providing for drinking and irrigation water will be built in Armenia. In implementing this project–not a single gram of water will be drained from Sevan.
When asked whether Azerbaijan will oppose draining additional amounts of water from Arax–Arakelian said that the Azeri administration admits the fact that because of the rise in the Caspian sea level they lost an area equal to that of Karabakh–and if this process continues the Lenkoran lowland will be flooded and. Karabakh will become a sea-country. So–"Azerbaijan might even be grateful."
Because Turkey (and not only Turkey) is likely to oppose the sale of water–the project should be implemented on the basis of a tripartite (involving Iran and Russia) agreement–which will also ensure the needed investment. The co-authors of the project pointed out that the project can embrace other rivers and sources of clear water flowing from Armenia and Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
The project was approved by the Presidential Political Council and submitted to the president for consideration as well as to Russian and Iranian representatives in Armenia. The authors expressed conviction that the project would be of great political and economic advantage to each of the three sides. That is why Russia and Iran are expected to approve the project. Government and public support for the project is expected in Armenia.