The US will hold talks with Israel regarding the advancement of a massive project to connect India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel, and the European Union - even without a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Kan Reshet Bet reported Sunday morning.
A source familiar with the details said that the discussions regarding the new project, including the train tracks, shipping lines, fast communications cables, and pipes for energy transfer, will begin in the near future, even without a normalization agreement. The source emphasized that this holds true despite the fact that the tracks and pipes are slated to connect directly between Saudi Arabia and Israel
"As of now, there are no plans for direct talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia on this project," the source added.
On Saturday, the White House said that the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) "will be comprised of two separate corridors, the east corridor connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and the northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe. It will include a railway that, upon completion, will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime and road transport routes – enabling goods and services to transit to, from, and between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The State of Israel, will be a central junction in this economic corridor. Our railways and our ports will open a new gate from India, through the Middle East, to Europe and back - from Europe to India, through Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates."
He added that the vision of this plan "reshapes the face of our region and allows a dream to become reality. The initiative includes the construction of railways, the laying of a hydrogen pipeline, the energy of the future, the laying of fiber optic communications cables, the laying of electricity cables and more infrastructure."
"Today is a day of major news for all citizens of Israel, news that will lead us to a new, unique and unprecedented era of global and regional cooperation and involvement. Together we will succeed," he concluded.