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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bridge planned between Egypt and Saudi Arabia

From Al Ahram:
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have agreed to begin work on a bridge between the two nations.

The bridge will cross the Red Sea and link Aqaba in Egypt with Tabuk in Saudi Arabia.

It will be called the King Abdallah Ben Abdel Aziz Bridge.

According to General Fouad Abdel Aziz who heads the project, in the next few weeks an outline for the 50 km bridge will be made and the work will probably begin in 2013.

The project is expected to cost approximately $3 billion.

Saudi Arabia has a large Egyptian expat community, many of whom depend on ill-maintained ferries to cross the sea.
During the Lausanne conference in 1949, where the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine tried to forge an agreement between Israel and the Arab states, the US and Britain repeatedly pressured Israel to give up parts of the Negev to Egypt (and, effectively, cut itself off from Eilat and the Red Sea) because it was considered tremendously important for the Arab worlds in Africa and Asia to be contiguous, and Israel's presence in the Negev was a "wedge" that would forever cause problems.

That argument has not been heard in decades.

This bridge, though, is still psychologically important, especially for Egypt to have a physical and economic link to the center of the Arab and Muslim world. Not to mention the possibility of taking a bus from Cairo to Mecca for Hajj.