BAVRA, Armenia (RFE/RL) – On October 1, President Serzh Sarkisian and other officials inaugurated a third checkpoint on Armenia’s border with Georgia that has been modernized as part of a $64 million program mostly financed by the European Union.
The checkpoint at Bavra in the northwestern Shirak province has new, better equipped and much bigger passport control and customs facilities meeting EU standards.
The area borders on the Ninotsminda district in Georgia which is part of the Javakhk (Samstekh-Javakhketi in Georgian) region mostly populated by Armenians. Georgian Deputy Prime Ministry Dimitry Kumsishvili also took part in the official opening of the new Bavra checkpoint.
Armenian officials as well as the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, said the modern facility will boost cross-border commerce and tourism.
A statement by Sarkisian’s office said it will also facilitate the transit of Iranian cargos via Armenia. The country’s sole border checkpoint with Iran is due to undergo similar modernization.
There are three checkpoints on the Armenian-Georgian border. Work on their expansion and modernization began in 2013 after the Armenian government secured 54 million euros ($64 million) in foreign funding. The EU provided the bulk of the sum in the form of a grant and a loan.
The Armenian side of the largest border crossing between the two South Caucasus countries was rebuilt completely in November last year. The Bagratashen checkpoint was inaugurated by Sarkisian and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.