Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 163

Armenian prime minister Hrant Bagratian and other government leaders inaugurated December 26 a modern, 192-meter long bridge over the river Arax connecting their country to Iran. The bridge, which took more than three years to complete, represents a vital link to the outside world for Armenia which is being blockaded by Azerbaijan and Turkey as a consequence of the Karabakh war. A provisional pontoon bridge of limited capacity had until now connected Armenia and Iran. The latter has in the meantime ascended to third place among Armenia’s foreign trade partners and is now poised to rise to second place, after Russia, as a result of the opening of this bridge. (16) In his address to the ruling party’s congress last week, president Levon Ter-Petrosian underscored the vital importance to Armenia of the overland link to Iran. He cited economic calculations according to which a serious disruption of the flow of imports from Iran would immediately result in severe shortages and price inflation in Armenia. (17)

Akayev Declared Re-Elected in Kyrgyzstan.