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Ex-Qatar PM: Gulf nations should work with Silk Road and India-MidEast-Europe corridor

September 18, 2023 at 8:29 am

Former Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim [Wikipedia]

The former Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim, hailed the new economic corridor connecting India and Europe through Saudi Arabia, but said Gulf countries should also  give weight to the Silk Road Initiative which connects China with Europe via Kuwait, Iraq and Turkiye.

Bin Jassim said on X, formerly Twitter, that he had always called for rapprochement with India, regardless of his “disagreement” with some of its policies, but he believes that New Delhi should be a natural partner of the Gulf states, as it has been for many centuries.

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) [Yasin Demirci - Anadolu Agency]

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) [Yasin Demirci – Anadolu Agency]

“I am not here to evaluate the economic feasibility of this proposed line, but I think at the same time that it is necessary for us in the Gulf countries to consider the Silk Road Initiative that China is now completing to reach Europe which will pass through Arab countries such as Kuwait and Iraq and then to Turkiye and Europe,” he said.

He pointed out that China has come a long way in building the Silk Road while trains from China have reached Europe in one way or another, calling for a careful study of the economic feasibility of both projects. Bin Jassim added that it is vital to understand the positive and negative consequences of both projects on the Suez Canal, for example, which serves as a strategic waterway for Egypt and the Arabs in general.

Reports: Egypt to loss massive revenue due to India-Middle East-EU economic corridor

He added that a careful study of both projects should also clarify the optimal ways for Arab countries to preserve their rights and not to limit their role to mere corridors.

“It is clear that the port of Haifa will be the first beneficiary of these lines, and although I do not object to that, I believe the proposed economic lines must be a contributing factor to peace within an Israeli-Palestinian-Arab peace plan that gives everyone their right,” he added.

Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced the India-Middle East-Europe corridor during the G20 summit in New Delhi.

Bin Salman stressed that Saudi Arabia is working tirelessly to implement the economic corridor on the ground and develop the necessary infrastructure including railways, connecting ports, increasing the passage of goods and services, enhancing trade exchange between concerned parties and extending pipelines to export and import electricity and hydrogen to enhance global energy supplies, in addition to cables to transmit data through a highly efficient and reliable cross-border network.

The project includes India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Israel and the European Union.