Israel proposes connecting to Arab States with transnational highway, railway
On Monday, Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed his hopes that the upcoming visit by President Biden to the region will lead to a common Middle East market that includes Saudi Arabia.
Biden will be landing in Israel on Wednesday and continuing on to Saudi Arabia on Friday, where he will attend a major gathering of regional leaders in the port city of Jeddah. Israel signed the Camp David Accords with Egypt in 1979 and a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. Further inroads were made in 2020 when the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations with Israel. Sudan and Morocco signed on in 2021.
Saudi Arabia has no formal ties with Israel though
Liberman tweeted his expectations:
“It is time to create a new common market of the Middle East common to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates,” Liberman tweeted. “All countries must be connected by a cross-eastern road, a railway, and a highway. This is the great challenge that will change the reality here from end to end, both in the security field and in the economic field.”
Asked at an economic conference hosted by the Calcalist newspaper, Liberman went into detail:
“It is time to create a new, common market in the Middle East – Israel, Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries, and Jordan. That’s the big challenge.”
“It will change the reality here from end to end, in both the fields of security and economics. Therefore, I hope the emphasis during Biden’s visit will be on creating this new market in the Middle East.”
At the same conference, Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata agreed that the pan-Mediterranean vision was indeed realistic.
“It is certainly possible to begin talking about the potential expansion of our markets in the region.”
“It’s no coincidence that Biden is coming here on Wednesday and continuing on Friday from here to Saudi Arabia by direct flight,” Haluta added. “The ability to attend to these things carefully, step by step, can bring about breakthroughs.”
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