FOLLOWING a decision taken by the UIC General Assembly in Montréal on June 8 to set up five UIC Regional Assemblies worldwide, the first meeting of the Regional Assembly for the Middle East took place in Istanbul on June 13-14.

Chaired by Khalid Alyahya, President of Saudi Railways Organisation, the assembly was attended by the Directors General of the state railways in Iran (RAI), Turkey (TCDD) and Syria (CFS) as well as Jordan's Aqaba Railway (ARC). UIC Deputy Chief Executive Vipin Sharma was also present.

It was determined that the regional headquarters of the MEA should be in Tehran, where the first full meeting would be held in April 2007. Its work 'will focus strongly on efficient development of interconnection of the railway network in the Middle East'.