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France-Italy rail link blocked for cash

ROME, March 10 (AFP) – A meeting between Prime Ministers Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Jean-Pierre Raffarin of France to sign an agreement on a rail link between Lyon and Turin has been set back because of financial problems, the daily Corriere della Sera said Wednesday.

Berlusconi announced two weeks ago that he and Raffarin would conclude the agreement, aimed at easing road traffic through the busy Alpine tunnels which connect France and Italy, before the end of March.

However Corriere della Sera said France still had to come up with EUR 1 billion (USD 1.23 billion) in finance for the EUR 14.5 billion project, which will include a 52-kilometer (32 mile) tunnel under the Alps. Work is scheduled to begin in 2007 and be completed in 2015.


                                                              Subject: France news