Iraq, Turkey to reopen strategic rail link

Iraq and Turkey signed an agreement on Wednesday to reopen a railway line between the two countries that was at the centre of imperial intrigues a century ago.

    The line would transport food and reconstruction supplies

    Iraqi and Turkish railway officials signed the agreement in Baghdad, saying the line would transport food and reconstruction supplies to Iraq.

     

    Four trains a week will move goods from Turkey through Syria and into Iraq.

     

    The railway, which runs from Istanbul to Baghdad and the southern city of Basra, will deliver supplies to a country recovering from the recent United States-led invasion and the economic sanctions imposed on it since the 1991 Gulf war.

     

    Key link

       

    Financed with German money and connecting far-flung regions of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire, construction of the original Baghdad Railway began in the late 19th century.

       

    The line served as a symbol of the growing influence of Germany in the Middle East. Britain saw the railway as a threat to its empire in India, and the project was regarded by historians as one of the triggers for World War One.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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