Iraq has approved a dual project dubbed ‘Development Road’ involving the construction of a 1,200-km rail line and a parallel motorway that will link the Arab country with nearby Turkey, Iraq’s Transport Minister was quoted on Friday as saying. 

Razzak Al-Saadawi said the project, which will start from the Southern Faw Port, aims to turn Iraq into a commercial “transit hub” between Asia and Europe via Turkey. 

Iraqi newspapers quoted Saadawi as saying after a visit to Turkey that both projects would be executed at the same time. 

“This is a strategic project that has been endorsed by the government...the rail and the road will pass through several Iraqi governorates and end up at the border with will give us access to the Turkish Port of Mersin and then Istanbul and Europe,” the Minister said, quoted by Shafaq News and other Iraqi publications. 

Saadawi did not mention when the project would be launched but said details of both projects have been presented to Turkish officials and investors. 

Iraqi officials said in early 2023 that the rail project would be awarded to France’s transport giant Alstom Company, which is also expected to build the Arab country’s first elevated metro in its capital Baghdad.  South Korea’s Daewoo E&C is constructing Phase 1 of the Al Faw Port under a $2.65 billion contract awarded three years ago.

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(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)