Jordan was not informed that the World Bank had approved Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom's Red-Dead canal plan and its decision to finance the project with $1.25 billion, Jordanian officials were quoted as telling The Jordan Times on Monday.
Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation officials insisted that as the Kingdom was a key partner in the Red-Dead Water Conveyance Project, it must be informed of any of the project's developments.
"We read the news in the newspapers and were shocked that a major decision was taken without our knowledge. It is not clear whether it is correct or notâ€¦ we are contacting the World Bank to check," Red-Dead Water Conveyance Project Director Fayez Batayneh said.
As published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Shalom announced plans to build a "pilot" pipe 180 km long from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea after meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Two hundred million cubic meters per year would be pumped through the pipe, half of which would be desalinated for Jordanian consumption and half put into the Dead Sea.
"I hope, of course, the news report is true, because it means real progress on the project," Batayneh noted.