Tunnel planned to link Europe and Africa
Wednesday 07 February 1996
Rabat - Morocco and Spain agreed to go ahead by the end of the century with a century-old dream of linking Europe and Africa by building a tunnel under the Gibraltar Strait.
"We hope to start geological and scientific work [for the tunnel] by 1997 but it might take longer than that ... it is a problem of financing," the Moroccan Finance Minister, Mohamed Kabbaj, said.
A joint communique issued at the end of a two-day visit by the Spanish Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez, said the tunnel was of enormous political and economic value to both countries, which have bilateral trade exceeding $1bn (pounds 650m).
"Conscious of the political and economic importance of a fixed link between Europe and Africa beneath the Straits of Gibraltar, which would consolidate regional cooperation, the two parties congratulate themselves on taking the project beyond the study phase," the communique said.
Analysts have estimated the proposed 14-mile tunnel at the mouth of Mediterranean, one of the greatest engineering challenges in the world, would cost more than $10bn.They say the project would be as significant in geopolitical terms as the building of the Suez Canal.
Diplomats say the tunnel idea was given new impetus after last November's Euro-Mediterranean conference in Barcelona, which sought to embrace countries south of the Mediterranean into a free trade pact with the European Union. Mr Kabbaj said that once funding was raised, the first phase could begin as early as 1997 - although he doubted this was feasible.
This involved construction of a service gallery at a cost of 315 million ecus ($253m), to be followed by a single-rail undersea tunnel down to a depth of 3,000 feet. Mr Kabbaj said Morocco and Spain would seek aid from the EU and other Western donors to fund the project, which would significantly boost Morocco's access to its main export market.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...