A $17-billion project to build a rail and road link between Iraq and Turkey includes the construction of a new residential city and the Middle East’s largest industrial zone, Iraq’s Prime Minister said in press comments on Wednesday.

Mohammed Al-Sudani said companies from China and the European Union have expressed interest in participating in the “Development Road” project which has been approved by the Iraqi cabinet.

“Besides the rail and road networks, this strategic project comprises the Middle East’s largest industrial zone and a new residential city,” Sudani said at a press briefing, quoted by Aliqtisad News and other Iraqi publications.

He said both the zone and the new city would be built near Faw Port, which will be linked with Turkey through the 1,200-km rail network and the motorway.

Iraqi officials have said the project, which involves electric high-speed passenger and freight trains, aims to boost Iraq’s trade and investment and is expected to be completed in 2028.

 (Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)