Home | News    Friday 18 January 2008

Feature: Sudan-China friendship bridge spans over Nile River


January 17, 2008 (MEROWE) — Like many Africans, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir tends to express his happiness and excitement with dance. Yet as Sudan’s president, he is seldom seen dancing in public.

On Thursday morning, a smiling and relaxed al-Bashir was dancing with a crowd of his fellow countrymen, who were celebrating the completion of the Bridge of the Chinese-Sudanese Friendship in this Nile riverside town of Merowe, about 350 km north of the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

"This is an important achievement," al-Bashir told the inauguration ceremony of the 440-meter bridge, which is the only one spanning over the world’s longest river in the section between Khartoum and the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

"With China’s help, with the endeavor of the Sudanese people, Sudan will certainly score glorious achievements one after another along our path of construction and development," the president added.

Al-Bashir’s statements won loud and lasting applause from tens of thousands of local people, who were gathering from nearby towns and villages at both sides of the Nile River to attend the ceremony.

Locals took on white or brightly colorful dresses, which they often use at various festivals, to celebrate the occasion, which marks a historic end to the painful inconvenience of no bridge for nearby areas.

With infectious smiles in the face, some were singing and dancing, some were beating drums, and others were playing traditional musical instruments.

Chinese Ambassador in Sudan, Li Chengwen, said told the ceremony that the bridge was another symbol of the deepened friendship between China and Sudan.

"The Chinese government and its people both wish Sudan to continue realizing development and prosperity, and will continue to provide various kinds of assistance to Sudan in this regard," said the ambassador.

The 20-meter wide bridge links Merowe on the eastern bank of the Nile River to Karima on the other side.

"The completion of the bridge will greatly facilitate transportation and traffic for local residents on both banks of the Nile River," Merowe mayor Sarah Ali Ahmed said, adding that there was a total population of some 1.5 million in Merowe and nearby towns.

The bridge will not only make Merowe center of a local road network in northern Sudan, but also enhance economic and tourism developments for Merowe, which is the oldest city in Sudan with a history of some 5,000 thousand years, said the beaming mayor.

Around Merowe, there are some pyramids and ruins of palaces which could be dated back to 3,000 B.C., but such tourism resources had gone basically untapped for many years because of the limitation of poor transportation, said Ahmed.

"The Bridge of the Chinese-Sudanese Friendship is really a bridge extending between the peoples of the two countries," Ahmed told Xinhua.

Friendship between Sudan and China has been deeply rooted thanks to the efforts exerted by their leadership and peoples, he added.

A teacher at Merowe’s high school echoed the mayor’s sentiments. "The bridge is a best gift given by the Chinese people to the Sudanese people," he said.

Construction of the bridge, which started in May of 2004, was also implemented by a Chinese construction contractor called China’s Jilin International Economic and Technical Corp.

Guo Jinwei, the contractor’s general manager, told Xinhua that Sudanese and Chinese constructors had not only jointly built this landmark bridge, but also fostered good friendship during the past three years when they overcame many difficulties, including sand storms and extremely hot weather, to complete the project with high quality.

The bridge was built at a cost of 20 million U.S. dollars, half of which was donated by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China’s biggest oil and gas producer.

Qin Anjiang, CNPC’s representative who participated in the ceremony, said that it was one of the donations made by the CNPC to the Sudanese people since it came to Sudan some ten years ago.

The CNPC, which has been actively involved in Sudan’s energy industry development, had donated more than 45 million U.S. dollars to the Sudanese people in the education, cultural, agricultural, transportation and medical fields, said Qin.

"The facts have proved that both China and Sudan are winners of the cooperation in the oil field, which has deepened our friendship and consolidated our cooperation in other fields," he concluded.


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  • 18 January 2008 05:49, by Deng Thiak Adut

    Guns, and Oil in the expenses of South: Bridges of weapons transportation: Bridges of conspiracy to murder, genocide: Chinese don’t give a damned about who the killing as long they getting paid for.

  • 18 January 2008 09:24, by Joseph Chol DeMakuei Deny

    Dear Sudanese.

    Why don’t we give thanks to China Government and their Company by the name "China National Petrolium Company" (NCPC) for their historics relationship they have created with NIF in the North Sudan. actually, China is doing well with Petro-Projects on the world in general not in Sudan it particular, but the slihgt mistake is racial concept of china towards blacks people, i have observed this interaction at many sudanese Petro-Field where Chineese are running.

    being frankly, i don’t tolerate the situation that has been created by some idiolic concepts, beacuse without telling this trust, Chineese will not know that we are aware of what they are doing.

    Brother, who wrote before me has mentioned some serious points, that may let CNPC to thinks over their operations in Sudan, and if there is such a process, then they will change and concentrate only on Petrol part and others work which has been assigned to them by GoNU or GoSS and must be a well studied Project.

    Dear China, thanks for this one bridge opened yesterday we appreciate it.

  • 25 November 2008 10:57, by Vera Markovic

    Article on opening of the Bridge of the Chinese-Sudanese Friendship in town of Merowe, made me very happy and sour scented comments are to be forgotten. Bridge surely IS a way to better life and new opportunities for local people. Loan is not shameful deed _it is a road to independence.

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