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Viewing cable 08MANAMA383, BUILDING BRIDGES: BAHRAIN-QATAR CAUSEWAY UPDATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANAMA383 2008-06-09 14:02 2011-02-18 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
VZCZCXRO4584
RR RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0383 1611440
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 091440Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7903
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000383 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2018 
TAGS: ECON EINV EPET QA BA
SUBJECT: BUILDING BRIDGES: BAHRAIN-QATAR CAUSEWAY UPDATE 
 
REF: MANAMA 329 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: CDA Christopher Henzel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(SBU) Summary: Qatar and Bahrain signed an agreement to begin construction in early 2009 on a USD 3 billion causeway between the two countries. End summary.

2.(SBU) Bahrain and Qatar signed on May 5 an agreement to move forward with construction of a causeway linking the two countries. The two Gulf states had been discussing the project for at least five years. A combination of bridges and man-made islands is planned to run from near Qatar's Zubarah fortress to Bahrain's east coast, just south of Manama. Bahraini Minister of Commerce Hassan Fakhro confirmed to Charge that that Vinci Construction and Middle East Dedging Company (Medco) will be the primary contractors for the USD three billion project.

3.(C) Qatari Ambassador Sheikh Abdulla Bin Thamer Al Thani told Charge that Qatar and Bahrain are still discussing the "details" of financing, and acknowledged that Qatar may have to pick up well more than half of the tab. Both Fakhro and Al Thani said construction is scheduled to begin in about nine months, and would be finished in four years.

4.(SBU) Al Thani told CDA that the causeway would include a rail link. He said there had been no agreement yet to add a gas pipeline to the design. (Note: Bahrain faces a looming natural gas crunch and hopes that it can strike a deal with Qatar even while it negotiates with Iran (reftel.)

5.(U) The plan calls for a 40 kilometer, dual carriageway highway running over a total of 18 kilometers of shallow embankments and 22 kilometers of viaducts and bridges. It also includes two 400 meter-long cable-stay bridges crossing shipping channels. The causeway will enable travelers to drive from Doha to Manama in less than an hour and a half.

6.(SBU) Bahrainis hope the Qatar causeway will facilitate investment in Bahrain in much the same way that the Saudi causeway has. Since the King Fahd Causeway opened in 1982, Bahrain's economy has benefitted from the ease with which Saudi investors and tourists can move back and forth. Bahrain's comparatively liberal society already attracts large numbers of Qataris, many of whom own homes in and around Manama. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** HENZEL