Bin Talal refuses new Toshka deal

Ahram Online, Thursday 19 May 2011

Saudi Prince Bin Talal has denounced a new deal on the controversial Toshka land development project, claiming it contradicts an initial agreement with the government

Alwaleed bin Talal
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal has refused to sign the contract of a new Toshka land deal with the Ministry of Agriculture, slamming the agreemet as “disappointing” and “shedding” what was decided upon earlier with the ministry.

The new deal stipulates that Kingdom Holdings give up 75 per cent of the 100,000 feddans (420 million square metres) of land Al-Waleed owns in Toshka. The Saudi prince will retain ownership of 10,000 feddans. He will keep another 15,000 feddans according to a concession system, provided that his company respects a scheduled timeline to cultivate the land.

Bin Talal has refused the deal, holding an emergency board of directors meeting to denounce it. 

Ahmed El-Halwany, CEO of Kingdom Holding, said that the initial memorandum of understanding with the government stated that the company would be entitled to ownership of the total 25,000 feddans and not 10,000 feddans as the contract reads.

He also accused the government of failing to uphold its promise to provide irrigation water to the full surface of the land.

Further, El-Halwany said several agreed upon clauses were excluded from the contract, including one stipulating the company’s right to international arbitration. 

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