Could hamper the ties with the US
The Chinese company was likely to build the Eilat railroad line through Negev desert in Southern Israel. Now it is recognized that the same company is expected to work on another railroad construction project between Iran and Armenia, the Israeli daily Calcalist has learned.
The Israeli Ministry of Transport signed earlier a memo of understanding with the Chinese government to cooperate on transportation and infrastructure projects. According to the Ministry of Transport statement released in July 2012, the body in charge of assistance on the Chinese side is the China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) Group.
In the beginning of November an opinion article by former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy was published, where he warned that the ties with the Chinese could hamper the relationship of Israel with the US administration.
The Chinese company is presently taking part in a huge infrastructure project in Asia, worth some $3.5 billion, in the framework of which it is to build a new railroad line between Iran and Armenia, which is designed to serve as an important terrestrial route extending along more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) and connecting the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf.
The Chinese company, which has a workforce of more than 11 000 employees and primarily deals with the design and construction of transportation infrastructures in China, Asia, Africa and South America, is expected to take part in the construction of the railroad line to [the southern Israeli port city of] Eilat. The rail route was approved at a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Internal Affairs and Services, the meeting which was held newly.
In August 2012, after the [Israeli-Chinese] memorandum of understanding had been signed, a delegation of the Chinese company visited Israel for a tour of the planned rail route. In January 2013, the Chinese company was selected to lead the project development team, in partnership with a subsidiary company of Russian Railways and with the financing of an investment company headquartered in Dubai.
About a month ago, significant progress was made in the project when the Chinese company tasked with preparing the railroad development plan completed the economic feasibility study and published its recommendations on the rail route.
It should be noted, however, that due to its ties with the Iranian government, the China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) is on at least two blacklists of companies banned by Americans from trading. The first is the blacklist drawn up by the state of Illinois. In January 2013, the Illinois Senate published its updated blacklist. The list, which enumerates the companies in which no American funds should be invested, includes CCCC.
The Ministry of Transport replied, “The Ministry of Transport applied to the leading countries in the world in the field of rail construction, asking for their bids on the Eilat rail project. The governments of France, China, and Spain, among others, have shown keen interest in the rail construction project. In the event it is decided to carry out the project in partnership with a foreign government and China is selected to that end, we will make sure not to involve in the project any company that violates the boycott against Iran, and we will see to it that the companies we work with meet all international criteria.”
Source: Calcalist & Al Monitor
China Communications Construction Co
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