Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   27 October


YEREVAN, JANUARY 29, ARMENPRESS:A natural gas pipeline linking Iran and Armenia will be put into operation this coming spring, a spokesman for the Armenian president said Monday. "The gas pipeline will be commissioned this spring. Only then it will be possible to say whether it will be a transit system. In any case, Yerevan has always been guided by considerations of economic expediency. Economic projects with a political implication or subtext have always been rejected by Armenian authorities," Viktor Sogomonian, the spokesman, said. Soghomonian also confirmed media reports that Armenian and Russian official are considering building a big oil refinery in southern Armenia Meghri. The spokesman said this issue had been discussed by presidents of Armenia and Russia January 24. The projected refinery would be built in Meghri, an Armenian town close to the Iranian border and receive oil through a 200 km long pipeline to be built from Iranian Tebriz, he said. A spokesman for the Gazprom-Neft company, Natalya Vyalkina, was quoted by media as saying last week that both the Armenian and Russian governments are looking into the project estimated at a staggering $1.7 billion, but Soghomonian said the cost of the project was inflated heavily.

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