Ten Middle East countries have expressed interest in co-financing a mega rail project planned by Iraq to link its South with Turkey and Europe, an Iraqi deputy said in press comments published on Wednesday.

Baqir Al-Saadi said other countries outside the region could also subscribe to the “Development Road” project, which officials hope to turn Iraq into a transit hub after years of trade and investment slump due to internal conflicts.

“According to my information, 10 countries have so far expressed interest in contributing to the Development Road project…other countries are expected to show interest in this strategic project which means Iraq is becoming stable and safe,” Saadi said.

The deputy did not identify those countries, but Iraq has held talks on the project over the past weeks with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as Iran, Turkey, Jordan and Syria.

The Iraqi Transport Ministry has estimated the project cost at $17 billion as it involves the construction of a 1,200-km rail and motorway from the Southern Faw Port to the Northern border with Turkey. The project is expected to be completed in 2029.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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