14:43 Apr. 9, 2016
King Salman unveils 'historic step to connect Africa and Asia' during Cairo visit as allies seal multiple trade deals
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has said that an agreement has been reached with Egypt to build a bridge over the Red Sea connecting the two countries.
The monarch made the announcement in televised comments on Friday - the second day of his visit to Cairo - after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and before representatives of the two countries began signing investment deals.
"I agreed with my brother, his Excellency President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to build a bridge connecting the two countries," Salman said.
"This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels."
It was not mentioned where the bridge would be built, but at the closest point - Nabq, just north of Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt, and Ras Alsheikh Hamid, in Saudi Arabia - the two countries are 16km apart.
The plan to build a joint bridge over the Red Sea at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba has been in the pipeline for several years.
Earlier proposals suggested the causeway would feature a railway line in parallel with the road lanes, integrating both country's proposed high-speed railway systems. In that plan, the causeway would pass through Saudi's Tiran Island, which would serve as a connection between the two countries.