Saudi govt denies report of Egypt causeway
No agreement, discussions says Saudi Transport Ministry
While Egypt has welcomed reports about an agreement with Saudi Arabia to construct a $3bn, 50km-long causeway linking the two countries together, the Saudi Ministry of Transport has denied any knowledge of such an agreement -- despite an earlier report that the project was going ahead.
"There is no any such agreement to the effect between the Ministry and any other party concerning the project," the Saudi Transport Ministry said in a statement.
It added that the project was never discussed in any of the meetings involving the Ministry with the Egyptian side. "No official from the ministry had made any statement regarding this issue."
This follows an earlier report in the Al Watan daily that Saudi Arabia and Egypt had renewed an agreement on constructing a causeway between Tabuk and Egypt through Aqaba Bay.
According to the report, the newly-named King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Causeway was due to start construction in mid-2013. The project has been on the drawing board since 1988.
The Saudi Transport Ministry was unavailable for comment.
The Chairman of Foreign Trade at the Egyptian Ministry of Commerce, Hussain Omran, said such a causeway would increase trade between the two countries by more than 300% from the present $4.2bn a year to more than $13bn in two years.
Hisham Zazoua, senior assistant to the Egyptian Minister of Tourism, expected the causeway to increase the number of Saudi tourists visiting Egypt every year to more than 1.2 million from the current 300,000.