The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an agreement to lend ECU 13.5 million ($17 million) to finance part of the project to connect the electricity grids of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. The EIB loan is to finance the foreign currency costs of the Turkish element of the SyrianTurkish connection. Local costs, estimated at $3 million, are to be met by the state-owned Turkish Electricity Generation & Transmission Corporation (TEAS).

The loan is for a 20-year period, with a four-year grace period. The interest rate will be fixed on the date of each disbursement.

The first disbursement of the loan is likely to be made after the award of a construction contract by TEAS.

Mustafa Turan, general manager of TEAS, said that an international tender will be launched in March for the construction. The work will include building a 125-kilometre power link from the Ataturk power plant on the Euphrates river to the Syrian border.

Other parts of the interconnection are to be funded by the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development. Total costs are estimated at $590 million.