Bloomberg | June 08, 2011
By Abdel Latif Wahba, Mariam Fam
CAIRO: Egypt and Kingdom Holding Co., the company controlled by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, signed an agreement in Cairo Tuesday over contested land in Toshka in southern Egypt.
“We have opened a new page with the Egyptian government,” Alwaleed said at a news conference with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. “We call on Arab and international investors to return to Egypt as soon as possible.”
The signing ends a dispute over a 100,000-feddan (104,000- acre) piece of land that is part of the Toshka agricultural development project, which is intended to use water diverted from the Aswan High Dam reservoir to irrigate land in Egypt’s western desert. Kingdom’s original acquisition came under criticism after a revolution in Egypt that ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
The company’s Kingdom Agricultural Development Co. unit will give up 75,000 feddans to Egypt and keep 25,000, according to a faxed statement from the prime minister’s office.
The signing and the “amicable negotiations” that preceded it could serve as a “legal model” to solve similar disputes, Sharaf said.
Alwaleed agreed in April to give up land that Kingdom bought in 1998, after Egypt’s public prosecutor sequestered the land, saying the purchase violated laws.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 08, 2011, on page 4.