Land dispute in Egypt has been settled, Saudis say

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding has reached an agreement with the Egyptian government over disputed land.

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A company controlled by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud says it has reached an agreement with the Egyptian government over disputed land.

Kingdom Holding will retain control of about 10,000 hectares in the Toshka agriculture project in southern Egypt but will waive rights to about an additional 30,000 hectares, the company said yesterday.

The Kingdom Agricultural Development Company (Kadco) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingdom Holding, which was founded by Prince Alwaleed.

Prosecutors charged that Kingdom's deal for the land violated Egypt's laws on tenders and auctions. Kingdom announced yesterday that it had reached "an amicable settlement plan with the Egyptian ministry of agriculture and land reclamation that ensures legal and financial rights for each party".

The agreement was "satisfying" and would not affect Kingdom's operations in Egypt, Prince Alwaleed said in Kuwait.

The company acquired about 42,000 hectares of Egyptian desert land in 1998, and under the umbrella of its Kadco subsidiary, the company uses water from the Nile to irrigate and grow crops on the land.

The initial development would involve investments of 650 million Egyptian pounds (Dh401.5m), the company said in 2007. Water in the irrigation project began flowing in 2003.

Planners of the project hoped to "develop a major food resource through the judicious use of available water and the application of the advanced techniques of agricultural science", according to the company's website.

The first phase of the project was focused on growing grapes, melons, onions and green beans, the website said.