By Alex WilkinsThe United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made it clear it will not pay for the construction of the $5.2 billion (US$3.7 billion) Suez canal after President Hassan Rouhani said it was in Iran’s interest to buy the canal from Egypt.
“The UAE is not interested in paying for the canal and will not do so,” Rouhani told reporters on Sunday, after talks with the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The UAE, which is part of a group of Middle Eastern states that also includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirate, is the biggest investor in Egypt’s $15 billion (€10.6 billion) project.
The canal would extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, connecting the Red Seas with the Black Sea, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, which was closed to foreign shipping in 1979.
The construction of a second Suez-Egypt canal, which Egypt is seeking to build with China, would cost around $10 billion, according to analysts.
Rouhani also said he had discussed a potential new Egyptian military alliance with the US.
“We are discussing it, we are discussing all the possibilities,” he said, adding that the US was “ready to help us”.