UAE, Iraq, Türkiye, Qatar sign $17bn Development Road project

Project to stimulate economic growth, enhance cooperation through economic integration: Iraq’s Al-Sudani

The United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Qatar, and Türkiye have signed a quadrilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation on the Development Road project.

According to the Iraqi News Agency (INA), the MoU was signed on Monday in Baghdad and witnessed by Iraq’s Prime Minister Muhammed Shia Al-Sudani and President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The MoU was signed by Iraq’s Minister of Transport, Razzaq Muhibis, and Türkiye’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Adil Karaismailoğlu.

Qatar’s Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, and the UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, also signed the agreement.

Scope of the project

The $17 billion project will see a land and rail route extending from Iraq to Türkiye and its ports, according to Qatar’s Ministry of Transport, 1,200 kilometres of which will be inside Iraq.

Works on the Development Road will be carried out in three phases, with deadlines set for 2028, 2033, and 2050.

When complete, the land and rail will facilitate an overland route between Europe and Gulf Cooperation Countries.

“The outlines for the framework of implementing the Development Road project aim to stimulate economic growth and enhance regional and international cooperation through economic integration,”  said the Iraqi prime minister’s office in a statement announcing the signing.

Meanwhile, several accompanying strategic framework agreements between Iraq and Türkiye were also signed on the same day.

‘Shorten distances’

“It will enhance the region economically,” said Al-Sudani, commenting on the MoU at a joint press conference with Erdogan at the government palace.

“The Development Road is not only to shorten distances but will turn into a bridge linking peoples of the region and its cultures. The Development Road will support security and stability in the region.”

Iraq and Türkiye MoUs

Alongside the Development Road Project MoU, Iraq and Türkiye signed a total of 26 MoUs focusing on collaboration in key areas such as water and energy security, transport and infrastructure, free trade and investment, science and medical research, defense and military training, security cooperation, youth and sports, agriculture, education, tourism, and culture, including archives and religious affairs.

“Various agreements have been signed with the Turkish side regarding water,” said Al-Sudani.

“The agreements will modernise irrigation systems for a period of 10 years, and its impact will be clearly felt, especially with regard to Iraq’s water shares.

Trade between Iraq and Türkiye has reached $20 billion, said Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, remarking on cultural commonalities between the countries and adding that the MoUs represent a turning point in the relationship with Iraq.

“The necessary coordination will be provided to ensure the full implementation of the agreements signed with Iraq,” Erdogan said.