The two countries made their joint announcement Monday after a meeting between Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom and Jordanian Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Nasser. The meeting was held on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.
The canal will carry water from the Red Sea north to the Dead Sea, which has been steadily drying out. A fixed amount of canal water will be siphoned off and desalinated to supply drinking water to Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians, with the saline byproducts used to replenish the mineral-rich Dead Sea.
“Today we took an additional historic step to save the Dead Sea,” Shalom said Monday. “The joint international tender to be published tomorrow is proof of the cooperation between Israel and Jordan, and a response to those who cast doubt on whether the canal project would ever go ahead. This is an exceptional environmental and diplomatic achievement that testifies more than anything to the fertile cooperation between the countries.”