Saudis to build Red Sea bridge

CAIRO // Saudi King Salman on Friday announced an agreement with Egypt to build a bridge over the Red Sea connecting the two countries.

On the second day of his visit to the Egyptian capital, the monarch made the announcement on television after meeting Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and before representatives from the two countries began signing investment deals.

“I agreed with my brother, his excellency president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, to build a bridge connecting the two countries,” King Salman said.

“This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels,” he said.

A beaming Mr El Sisi, who had minutes before presented the king with the ceremonial Nile Collar, suggested they name the bridge “King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Bridge”.

After the announcement, representatives of both countries signed 17 investment deals and memorandums of understanding in a range of sectors.

A Egyptian government official said the deals agreed with Saudi Arabia throughout King Salman’s visit would amount to about US$1.7 billion (Dh6.24bn).

They included an agreement to establish a university and homes in South Sinai, and a power plant.

Over and above Friday’s deals, the countries are expected to agree a $20 billion finance agreement for Egypt’s petroleum sector. Industry leaders said this would have an immediate effect on downstream investment. The soft loan, with an interest rate of 2 per cent, will help to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs over the next five years.

* Agence France-Presse

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