MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The upcoming unveiling of the Kerch Strait bridge and the construction of the Tavrida highway will make it possible to arrange the transit of goods between Russia and Syria, said Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) member Dmitry Belik, who is part of a parliamentary delegation currently on a visit to Syria.
"The Syrian president listened with interest to our suggestions to arrange a sea route between Sevastopol and Tartus," he said. "Creating such a route - particularly taking into account the fact that the Crimean bridge will soon open to traffic - is a strategic area of cooperation between Russia and Syria… The sea route… should not end in Sevastopol, goods from Syria may and should be delivered to mainland Russia," Belik added.
According to him, the port infrastructure in both Sevastopol and Tartus is ready to be used. "In the past four years, it has been impossible to use them in full because of international sanctions and Ukraine’s position. The situation is similar in Syria’s Tartus, only restrictions there stem from the war," the Russian lawmaker noted.
Belik also said that after the delegation returned to Russia, he and Dmitry Sablin, the coordinator of a parliament group for ties with Syrian lawmakers, planned to raise the question of arranging the transit of goods from Syria to Russia via Sevastopol. "Since I represent Sevastopol, I will make every possible effort to facilitate the implementation of this project for it will boost the city’s development," Belik added.
The Russian parliamentary delegation arrived on a visit to Syria on Wednesday. Its agenda includes meetings with Speaker of the Syrian People's Council Hammouda Sabbagh, Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and Patriarch John X of Antioch. There are plans to sign an agreement between the United Russia party and Syria’s Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, which has been ruling the country since 1963.
The bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland by road and rail will be the longest in the country and one of the largest in Europe. Its span will stretch across 19 kilometers.
The construction and installation of the bridge kicked off in February 2016. It originates on the Taman Peninsula, runs through a five-kilometer dike area and the Island of Tuzla, then crosses the Kerch Strait and reaches the Crimean coast.
The bridge will open to automobile traffic in 2018 and to rail traffic in 2019.