Joint Saudi-Jordan project to build $705m railway

The railway will link the port in Aqaba with Ma'an. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 February 2019
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Joint Saudi-Jordan project to build $705m railway

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to help build a rail project in Jordan as part of a 500 million-dinar ($705 million) joint investment.

The Saudi-Jordan Investment Fund Company and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to connect the ports of Aqaba on the Red Sea with Ma’an.

Upon completion, the railway will operate along a 195-kilometer (121-mile) track, transporting cargo containers to and from Aqaba, Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, as well as phosphate from the mines in Shidiya for export, Bloomberg reported.

The Jordan-Saudi fund was formed in 2016 as a partnership between the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which holds a 90 percent stake, and 16 Jordanian banks that own the rest.


Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

Updated 21 February 2019
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Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

  • “In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Turkish foreign minister said
  • Turkey and the Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkey will begin drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus in coming days, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying on Thursday, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in a speech to a business conference in western Turkey’s Aydin province.
“Let those who come to the region from far away, and their companies, see that nothing can be done in that region without us. Nothing at all can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey, we will not allow that,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey launched its first drillship “Fatih” in October to drill off the coast of Turkey’s southern Antalya province. It said a second ship that it purchased would operate in the Black Sea, but was diverted to the Cyprus area.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Turkey, says any offshore wealth also belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
The island was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Countless peacemaking endeavours have failed, and offshore wealth has increasingly complicated peace negotiations, with Greek Cypriots saying the matter is not up for discussion.