Saudi Arabia is planning on making Qatar an island with its $750 million plan to create the Salwa Canal between the two countries, which was first reported by local news in April.
This move comes after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar back in June 2017, according to the Telegraph.
The Canal will be built between the two countries; measuring 60km, it will separate Saudi from Qatar.
The Kingdom is accepting a bid for the project – which would transform its Gulf rival from a peninsula into an island – until June 25. For now, five international companies have submitted bids for the project, which will create a canal with approximately 200 meters of width and 15 meters of depth, according to VOX.
Expected to be completed by 2019, the waterway will allow ships up to 300 meters long and 32 meters wide to pass, which translates into 100 cubic meters.
If the country goes ahead with the plans, it will add 60 kilometers to the Saudi coastline. Local news outlets have forecast that this would be beneficial to the Kingdom’s tourist industry since several seaside resorts are also planned along the canal.
The winner of the bid will be announced within three months and the project’s financial sources will come from Saudi Arabia’s and United Arab Emirates’ private sectors, according to The Washington Post.
Phenomenal support of Salwa
Saudi nationals went on Twitter to support this decision, stating that this is “yet another historical moment for our country; we are changing the world’s geography,” one Saudi wrote on Twitter.
Blockade to stay
The new reports on the canal project come days after Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said there was no end in sight to the blockade, according to The Telegraph.
“The information in our hands today does not indicate any glimmer of hope for a solution now,” he told a Saudi-owned newspaper. Qatar, a gas-rich country, depends on imports even for primary food products.
Following the blockade, it flew and shipped in thousands of cows to provide milk, reported The Washington Post.