Thursday, September 04, 2008

GCC-EU rail network on the way

Original Article

A planned GCC-Europe rail network via Turkey is gathering steam under the initiative of King Hamad of Bahrain, with the GCC-Turkey rail link likely to materialise “in the next five to six years,” Turkish Ambassador Osman Haldun was quoted as saying by a local daily.

It would ultimately lead to the Gulf region being connected to Europe by rail, he added.

Under the proposal, half of the project would be carried out by Saudi Arabia while the rest would be taken care of by the other GCC states.

One of the suggestions is to set up a link from Oman, going on to the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and then to Turkey.

Another is that the network would start from Oman and go on to the UAE, through Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

“Once there is a railway to Turkey, a connection to Europe is the natural thing to happen after that,” he said.

“This is the future and once it happens, it would become extremely easy to move a large number of people between these two diverse parts of the world,” Haldun further said.

“Looking at the world scenario now, we feel there will be a need for such a link very soon.”

The King of Bahrain suggested the rail link during his official visit to Turkey last month.

“The way forward is to start implementing it,” Haldun added, saying “everyone is extremely interested and wants to see it implemented.” He said huge interest was generated in Turkey after King Hamad’s proposal.
Haldun said the easiest and the shortest link to Turkey would be through Iraq or Syria.

“I do not see Iraq being a very favourable option at the moment, but a few years down the line, it could be the shortest connection,” he said.

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