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تۆڕی میدیایی ئێستا
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Railway line to be built between Iraq’s Mosul and Turkey: Nineveh governor

2020-09-21
Smoke rises up from buildings as train cars are seen in the railway station in Mosul, Iraq, April 5, 2017.
Photo: Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
Esta - Iraq
Esta

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Governor of Nineveh Najim al-Jabouri said a railway line would be built between Iraq’s Mosul and Turkey, according to Iraqi media.

Jabouri said in a statement to al-Sabah newspaper that a team of engineers with the support of Turkish companies would begin laying a “new modern railway line” between the two countries in the coming days.

The railway line would be built from Mosul center towards Turkey border in an effort to reduce the intensity at the border crossing, Anadolu Agency reported.

In July 2019, former Iraqi minister of transport Abdullah Laibi said Baghdad was planning to extend its railway lines abroad to reach Turkey, Daily Sabah reported.

A railroad line to connect Turkey was planned in the coming period, Daily Sabah cited Laibi as saying.

Mosul train station was halted when Islamic State (ISIS) militant group took control of the city in 2014. The militants used the station as a hideout.

Since 2012 the rail services from Mosul had stopped due to deteriorating security situation. Authorities were preparing to restart regular trains to Turkey and Baghdad when Islamic State arrived in June 2014.

Mosul was part of a German-Ottoman plan called Bagdadbahn to link Berlin with Baghdad and the Gulf port of Kuwait, both then part of the Ottoman empire - a scheme that rivalled the scale of the Orient Express, according to Reuters.

But the collapse of that empire following World War One interrupted the project and the tracks between Istanbul and Baghdad only got completed around 1940.

Mosul later turned into a gateway for cargo and passenger trains from Syria and Turkey to Baghdad and Basra in the south.

Traffic thinned during the 1990s when Iraq was under U.N. sanctions after Saddam Hussein’s Kuwait invasion, as little was spent on maintenance.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has also ordered the formation of a committee to re-study the suspension of a railway project in Baghdad, spokesman for General Secretariat of Iraqi Council of Minister Haider Majeed said on Sunday.

Majeed added that the committee led by minister of transport Nasser Bandar should submit its recommendations within 45 days after it laid down means, mechanisms and solutions to complete the project.

The committee led by minister of transport Nasser Bandar includes representatives from the ministries of finance, planning, construction, housing, municipalities and the national investment commission, the official added.

Kadhimi ordered the formation of the committee during a meeting of the Iraqi Council of Ministers on Sept. 15, he said in a statement.

During his visit to Iraq on September 2, French President Emmanuel Macron discussed his country’s support for building a metro railway in Baghdad.

Last month, Baghdad’s governor Mohammed al-Ata told Iraqi Aliqtisad News Network that Iraq intended to sign agreements with France’s transport giant Alstom and Hyundai of South Korea for the construction of the much-delayed Baghdad elevated metro before the end of 2020, Zawya website reported.

"The project has been included in the budget and will be launched once an agreement with Alstom and Hyundai is signed before the end of this year," Zawya quoted the governor as saying.

The governor said the project included the construction of a 22 km rail network and 14 train substations, with a capacity of at least 30,000 passengers per hour.

Undersecretary of Iraqi planning ministry Mahir al-Dulaimi said the project had been delayed for years due to financial and technical issues.