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Tue 18 Nov 2014 05:45 PM

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Qatar in talks to fund UK high-speed rail development plan

Saudi and Abu Dhabi investment funds have reportedly also met with Prime Minister David Cameron to help finance the project

Qatar in talks to fund UK high-speed rail development plan
Train, track, etihad rail

Qatar is interested in investing billions of dollars in infrastructure around the north of England, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The report claimed the Qatari royal family has informed British ministers it is interested in investing in infrastructure opportunities around the new HS2 high-speed rail line, which will link London to Birmingham, then Leeds and Manchester.

The opportunity was discussed last month when the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with British Prime Minister David Cameron last month.

"The Prime Minister ... encouraged the Emir to consider more opportunities across the country, particularly the government's plan to establish a Northern Powerhouse by connecting our great Northern cities and the development of high speed rail," a statement issued after the emir's visit said.

During the state visit, which also included a meeting with Queen Elizabeth as well as senior politicians and executives, the two countries signed an agreement setting out a framework for further talks on issues such as defence, energy and trade.

While the London government will finance the high speed train line, it is looking for external investors to bankroll the infrastructure around the terminals and stations.

According to the FT, documents released by the Cabinet Office show that Prime Minister Cameron has met with several potential foreign investors regarding investment, including the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Qatar is one of the world's richest countries and is already heavily invested in British firms and property.

Among its highest profile investments are London's tallest building, the Shard, which was funded by the Qatari royal family, and the upmarket Harrods department store owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority.

Gary Mogan 5 years ago

I think they mean HS3 linking Leeds with Manchester, the Chinese have HS2 : https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-china-sign-memorandum-of-understanding-on-rail