Saudi border guards recently took full control of the Salwa crossing, indirectly cutting off all links to Qatar, especially its terrestrial links with other countries. According to reports, the customs and passports departments removed the crossing and also gave over the control of the crossing to the Border Guards; this according to a Saudi news site Sabq.
However, the news site also reported that the move could be seen as a sign that work on a waterway project along a 60 kilometer stretch on the border between the two countries for tourism and commercial purposes could start earlier than expected.
The Saudi news site is reporting that the planned canal would stretch from Salwa to Khor Al Adeed, and would also be wide by 200 meters and 15 to 20 meters deep, so it can be navigable by ships up to 295 meters long and 33 wide.
Many tourist attractions and private beaches in Salwa, Sakak, and Khor Al Adeed have as well as in Ras Abu Qamees are set to be opened. Water sports and marinas will also be made on the two banks of the canal, making the canal a unique attraction in gulf region.
According to reports, the project would cost SR2.8 billion and could start within one year, if approved. The canal will reportedly be entirely within Saudi territory, as a sign of full Saudi ownership.
While Saudi Arabia is expected to fully fund the canal, private firms from Egypt and UAE will help with the construction of the canal. In order to separate the Salwa waterway from Qatar, a Saudi military base will be built within a kilometer to the two countries’ borders.
Last year a quartet of countries namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off all diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar accusing the gulf country of supporting extremists and for funding terrorism. They quartet asked Qatar to abide by a13 point demand that included the closure of Qatar’s famous satellite television channel Al-Jazeera.
Doha has rejected all the quartet’s demands while the mediation efforts led by Kuwait to resolve the stand-off also failed to produce any results.