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Iraq, Turkiye, UAE, Qatar sign pact on $17bn transport hub project

April 23, 2024 at 1:39 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with his Iraqi counterpart Abdul Latif Rashid during his official visit in Baghdad, Iraq on 22 April, 2024 [TUR Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq, Turkiye, the UAE and Qatar have signed a quadripartite agreement on Iraq’s ambitious $17 billion transportation and infrastructure project aimed at transforming the country into a regional transportation hub.

The “Route of Development” intends to establish road and rail links stretching 1,200 kilometres from the northern border with Turkiye to the Gulf in the south.

The signing took place yesterday in Baghdad in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.

According to Iraqi News, Iraqi Minister of Transport, Razzaq Al-Saadawi, the Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Abdulkadir Oraloglu, the Qatari Minister of Transport, Jassim Al-Sulaiti, and the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Mohamed Al-Mazrouei, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries.

“The memorandum includes the signatory countries developing the necessary frameworks for implementing the project,” the Iraqi prime minister’s office said in a statement.

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The prime minister’s office also noted that the four-way deal “will contribute to stimulating economic growth and strengthening regional and international cooperation between the East and West”, and provide a “new competitive transport route, and promote regional economic prosperity.”

Al-Sudani stated earlier that the project will be a cornerstone for a sustainable non-oil economy that would benefit Iraq and its neighbours by enhancing regional connections and economic integration.

The plan includes the construction of about 15 train stations across major cities like Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, extending up to the Turkish border. The project also involves upgrading the commercial port of Al-Faw on the Gulf to handle increased cargo volumes.

The signing of the agreement was significant, occurring during Turkish President Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, which notably marked the first such visit by a Turkish leader since 2011. During this visit, Iraqi and Turkish officials finalised a total of 24 memoranda of understanding, signalling a potential deepening of bilateral ties between the two countries.

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