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US and Saudi Arabia Discuss Mideast Railroad Project: Report

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U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks to reporters during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

i24 News – Hints and speculations surround the latest meeting of top US, Saudi, Emirati, and Indian officials in Saudi Arabia. A major joint initiative would connect Arab countries in the region with a network of railways, also connecting India through ports in the Gulf, according to Axios.

When White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced his trip on Thursday, a hint could be found in what he said: “A more integrated, interconnected Middle East empowers our allies and partners, advances regional peace and prosperity, and reduces the resource demands on the US in this region over the long term.”

According to the Axios source, the railway project will be one of many topics discussed during the visit, as well as the normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Sullivan previously said, “ultimately, getting to full normalization is a declared national security interest of the United States. We have been clear about that.”

“Now as a sign of my seriousness about how much we’re focused on this, and how seriously we are taking this,” he concluded, “I am not going to say anything further lest I upset the efforts we are undertaking on this issue.”

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Other than the speculations of Israel-Saudi relations, and pushing back on China’s influence in the region through an initiative to compete with the Belt and Road project, the four countries released a statement on retaining the Yemen Truce, and efforts to calm the violence in Sudan.

Sullivan thanked Saudi Arabia for aiding US citizens to evacuate from Sudan, and the two countries welcomed the “start of pre-negotiation talks” in Jeddah between representatives of the two Sudanese belligerents.

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