Russian Railways is seeking to enter into new projects in the Middle East, despite the losses it has faced in restive Libya, Vladimir Yakunin, chief executive of the state-run monopoly, said Saturday.
"We are seeking the possibility to penetrate into the international market of infrastructure construction. … Our first attempt in Libya seemed to be not very exciting … but we continue this policy," he said.
Yakunin, who met with a group of foreign journalists on the sidelines of a two-day railway forum that opened in Moscow on Friday, said that among possible options is the United Arab Emirates, where the company is holding negotiations.
He said Russian Railways is interested in other Persian Gulf countries as well.
"They have a very substantial program to develop railway infrastructure. … And we would like to be part of that," said Yakunin.
Meanwhile, the company hopes to complete the 2.2 billion euro ($3 billion) project in Libya, which stalled due to the unrest there, Yakunin said Friday.
"You saw by yourself what was going on in this country. You see what's going on there now. We undoubtedly aspire to complete what was started there, but what the political conditions for this work will be don't depend on the Russian Federation's government, to say nothing of Russian Railways," he told the forum.
Russian Railways started construction of a 550-kilometer railway from Sirt to Bengazi last year, and Yakunin said earlier this month that the company's losses in Libya amounted to 20 billion rubles ($647 million).
(Source: The Moscow Times)