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$ 3 billion Saudi-Egypt causeway project on track

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and Egypt are going ahead with the proposed $ 3 billion causeway project that will boost economic and social relations between the two countries, said Egyptian Transport Minister Mohamed Rashad Al-Mateny.
A technical committee will meet in late September to discuss first steps to implement the project, Al-Hayat quoted the minister as saying.
The 32-km causeway will start from Ras Nassrani in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and pass by Tiran Strait before reaching Ras Hamid near Tabuk in northern Saudi Arabia.
Egyptian President Muhammed Mursi, who is keen to implement this vital project, visited Saudi Arabia twice after taking oath as president on June 30.
Mursi pledged he would remove all obstacles facing Saudi investors in his country and offered reassurance to Saudi nationals that their investments of $ 27 billion in Egypt would be protected.
The Saudi-Egyptian Business Council will meet this month to discuss joint investment schemes including the $ 350 million Gardaga tourism project.
The Egyptians have welcomed the project.
Hussain Omran, chairman of the foreign trade department at the Egyptian Ministry of Commerce, said a causeway would expand trade by 300 percent with annual volumes rising to $ 13 billion in from $ 4.2 billion at present.
A senior assistant to the Egyptian tourism minister said the number of Saudi tourists to Egypt could also surge to more than 1.2 million from the current figure of 300,000.
The official said the causeway would also help in promoting intra-Arab tourism between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
He said the region South of Sinai could see a significant economic recovery, especially during Haj and Umrah seasons.

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