| 1 October 2023, Sunday |

US, India, Saudi, EU to unveil rail, ports deal on G20 sidelines -White House official

A White House representative indicated that on Saturday, outside of the G20 conference in New Delhi, a global rail and port agreement connecting the Middle East and South Asia will be unveiled.

The agreement comes at a crucial moment as American President Joe Biden works to oppose China’s Belt and Road initiative on global infrastructure by positioning the United States as an alternative partner and investor for poor nations at the G20 summit.

The deal will benefit low and middle-income countries in the region, and enable a critical role for the Middle East in global commerce, Jon Finer, the U.S. deputy national security adviser, told reporters at the bloc’s annual summit in New Delhi.

It aims to link Middle East countries by railway and connect them to India by port, helping the flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe, U.S. officials have said, by cutting shipping times, costs and fuel use.

A memorandum of understanding for the deal will be signed by the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other G20 partners, Finer said.

“Linking these key regions, we think, is a huge opportunity,” said Finer. No immediate details of the value of the deal were available.

The move comes amid U.S. efforts for a broader diplomatic deal in the Middle East that would have Saudi Arabia recognise Israel.

From the U.S. viewpoint, Finer added, the deal helps “turn the temperature down across the region” and “address a conflict where we see it”.

  • Reuters