Saudi cancels tender awarded to Russia to build rail line

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Moscow, May 21 (UNI) Saudi Arabia has cancelled an 800 million dollar tender won by Russian Railways to build a rail line in the country, for ''political reasons''.

''This was not a problem relating to technology or Russian Railways. It is a problem in international relations,'' RIA Novosti quoted head of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin as saying today.

Russian Railways (RZD) had announced in January that it had won a tender to build a 520-km railway line in Saudi Arabia.

It was to build a line from Al Zabirah to the King Khalid international airport (Riyadh) in central Saudi Arabia, to make up over one-fifth of the North-South railway line in the country, which was to have a total route of 2,400 km.

The North-South project was launched in Saudi Arabia in 2005 to develop phosphate and bauxite deposits in the country's north and reduce the economy's dependence on oil exports.

The entire project was expected to cost over 2 billion dollars and was to be finished in 2010-2011.

UNI XC SKB RN1652

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