The western salvation Highway, linking Sudan's Darfur and Kordofan regions with the capital Khartoum and some neighboring countries, has long been highly expected by local Sudanese in these areas, and thanks to the China- Sudan partnership, that goal will be materialized, a Sudanese minister said on Wednesday.
"The dream of the salvation highway is about to come true. We have completed 60 percent of the road at all sectors," Abdul-Wahid Yousif, Sudan's minister of roads and bridges, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
He said the project has been progressing "satisfactorily" as the related Sudanese authorities and the Chinese contractors have been engaged in fine consultations.
Yousif also appreciated Chinese companies' willingness to complete the project work despite such difficulties as the security situation in Darfur and some areas in Kordofan.
"We appreciate the determination of the Chinese companies to carry on with the work under hard circumstances and unstable security conditions sometimes," noted the Sudanese minister.
He said that the western salvation highway is another indicator for the benefits of the strategic partnership between Sudan and China.
The Western Salvation Highway extends for 1200 km. The idea of building the road dates back to 1954, but it had not been implemented then due to many reasons, including lack of funding and instability in some areas in western Sudan.
The highway links the five states of Darfur, the three states of Kordofan and the Sudanese capital Khartoum. It also links Sudan with West and Central Africa, namely Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Central Africa Republic.
The highway program is funded by a Chinese loan amounting to 650 million U.S dollars and is being implemented by Chinese companies.
The Sudanese minister reiterated his ministry's commitment to provide the necessary security protection for the Chinese companies operating in areas of conflict in Darfur and Kordofan regions.
Chinese companies have previously experienced various attacks in Darfur and Kordofan, and many of their engineers and workers had been kidnapped.
On Jan. 28, 2012, more than two dozens of Chinese workers were kidnapped in Sudan after their camp was attacked by local rebels, and were later released.