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Israel suggests railway linking Haifa to the Gulf

November 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

Israeli Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz (2nd-L) stands next to Omani officials during the opening ceremony of the IRU (International Road Transport Union) World Congress in Muscat on 7 November 2018 [MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel is expected to present a railway project linking it and the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, according to the Russian news agency RT.

The Office of Israeli Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, said he would tell the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in Oman that despite the total absence of public diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states, a rail link should be set up connecting the region.

Katz is expected to present at the IRU congress, held in Muscat, a joint plan with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Tracks for Regional Peace. The project aims to link the Mediterranean to the Gulf States through Israel, by means of a rail plan similar to a land bridge. The railway project will also cross through Jordan.

Katz mentioned last month that he had presented the project to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that her government is considering working on the project.

US President Donald Trump’s Special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, welcomed the initiative on behalf of the US administration, calling for supporting dialogue between Israel and the Arab states.

The Israeli minister’s visit to the Sultanate of Oman came less than two weeks after Netanyahu completed an official trip to the Gulf state, which has no formal relations with Israel.

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