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Israeli minister in Oman to push for rail link with Gulf

AFP  |  Jerusalem 

An Israeli has travelled to to propose plans for a railway linking the Gulf to the via the Jewish state at a world transport conference on Wednesday, his office said.

Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz, who reportedly arrived in on Sunday, is to make the pitch at the annual meeting of the

The "Tracks for Regional Peace" initiative calls for a rail link connecting with the Sea, according to

The proposal is part of a push by to capitalise on regional developments, particularly anti-sentiments, and to overcome decades of Arab hostility.

The line would extend from Haifa, Israel's largest port, passing through before connecting with existing railways in the Gulf.

Last month, Katz said he had presented the plan to German Angela Merkel, whose government had expressed interest in participating in the project.

His trip to comes less than two weeks after made a surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate -- the first in more than 20 years by an Israeli

The trip was a coup for Netanyahu, who wants to bolster ties with the Arab world in the face of the perceived expansion of Iranian influence across the region.

It also follows visits late last month by Israel's culture and to the

currently has full diplomatic relations with only two Arab states -- and

Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory, however, remains a major obstacle to official recognition by other Arab countries.

Netanyahu and members of argue that a normalisation of Arab-Israeli ties promotes peace with the Palestinians.

The is pushing to bridge relations between the Jewish state and as it seeks an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

Trump's envoy welcomed Katz's visit to Oman, tweeting: "These efforts support our efforts.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 23:15 IST