2/11/2009

Turkey to bridge Arabian peninsula to Europe

Arab News - Saudi Arabia and Turkey have reaffirmed their desire to restore and rebuild the historic Hejaz Railway that links Damascus with the holy city of Madinah by a narrow-gauge rail line. The plan will, if completed as envisioned, connect Istanbul to Makkah. “The plan envisages restoration and modernization of the railway line by the Turkish government within its territory, while it calls on Syria and Jordan to rebuild the tracks on their sides” said Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Minister of Transport, during a high-profile business meeting addressed by the Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Saudi Arabia last week. “On the Saudi side, they do have an ambitious plan to set up railway projects” said Yildirim. “So, when these four countries, namely Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, come together, the entire project will be completed”, he added. “This railroad project needs positive efforts by the countries involved” said Shoura member Ihsan Ali Bu-Hulaiga. “It can be of great value and even link the Arabian countries with the European states” Addressing the meeting of businessmen organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which was also attended by Abdullah Zainal Alireza, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Fahd Balghunaim, Minister of Agriculture, the Turkish President Gul said, “The Kingdom and Turkey, which share identical views on a range of political and commercial issues, must boost bilateral ties”