Netherlands wants to help build canal between Dead Sea, Red Sea

22nd May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Dutch foreign minister supports the idea of Dutch participation in building a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

22 May 2008

AMSTERDAM - Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told parliament Wednesday he supported the idea of Dutch participation in the building of a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

His Christian Democrat legislator colleague Karen van Gennips told parliament the canal would contribute to Israeli- Jordanian cooperation and increase economic activity in the area.

Israel and Jordan have discussed building a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea in an attempt to stop the Dead Sea from drying up.

The water level of the Dead Sea has dropped dramatically owing to lack of rain and Lebanon's decision to reroute the Litani river, decreasing the water flow from the Jordan river into the Dead Sea.

Experts agree that something should be done to stop the Dead Sea from disappearing.

However, critics of the canal claim that bringing water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea might destroy the local ecosystem, including the special features of the Dead Sea.

The 67-kilometre-long Dead Sea, located in the Jordan Rift Valley 420 metres below sea level, is the lowest point on earth. The sea has a 30 percent salinity, making it the second saltiest lake in the world after Lake Asal in Djibouti.

The site attracts many tourists in Israel and Jordan and has a well-developed health and spa tourist industry for people with asthma and allergies.

[dpa / Expatica]

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