2001 The Parties to the present Agreement, conscious of the importance of facilitating land transport on international roads in the Arab Mashreq and the need to increase cooperation and intraregional trade and tourism through the formulation of a well-studied plan for the construction and development of an international road network that satisfies both future traffic needs and environmental requirements, have agreed as follows:
Adoption of the International Road Network The Parties hereto adopt the international road network described in Annex I to this Agreement (the “Arab Mashreq International Road Network”), which includes roads that are of international importance in the Arab Mashreq and should therefore be accorded priority in the establishment of national plans for the construction, maintenance and development of the national road networks of the Parties hereto.
Orientation of the routes of the International
Road Network The Arab Mashreq International Road Network consists of the main routes having a north/south and east/west orientation and may include other roads to be added in the future, in conformity with the provisions of this Agreement.
Technical specifications Within a maximum period of fifteen (15) years, all roads described in Annex I shall be brought into conformity with the technical specifications described in Annex II to this Agreement. New roads built after the entry into force of this Agreement shall be designed in accordance the technical specifications defined in the said Annex II.
Signs, signals and markings Within a maximum period of seven (7) years, the signs, signals and markings used on all roads described in Annex I shall be brought into conformity with the standards defined in Annex III hereto. New signs, signals and markings produced after the entry into force of this Agreement shall be designed in accordance with the technical standards defined in the said Annex III.
Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval
and accession 1. This Agreement shall be open to members of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) for signature at United Nations House in Beirut, from 10 May 2001 to 31 December 2002.
2. The members referred to in paragraph 1 in this article may become Parties to the present Agreement by:
(a) Signature not subject to ratification, acceptance or approval (i.e., definitive signature);
(b) Signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the depositary.
4. States other than ESCWA members may become Parties to the Agreement, subject to the approval of all the ESCWA members parties thereto, by depositing an instrument of accession with the depositary.
Entry into force 1. The Agreement shall enter into force ninety (90) days after the date on which five (5) members of ESCWA have either signed it definitively or deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
2. For each member of ESCWA referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 5 signing the Agreement definitively or depositing an instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval thereof or accession thereto after the date on which five members of ESCWA have either signed it definitively or deposited such an instrument, the Agreement shall enter into force ninety (90) days after the date of that member’s definitive signature or deposit of the instrument of ratification, approval, acceptance or accession. For each State other than a member of ESCWA depositing an instrument of accession the Agreement shall enter into force ninety (90) days after the date of that State’s deposit of that instrument.
Amendments 1. After the entry of the Agreement into force, any Party thereto may propose amendments to the Agreement, including its Annexes.
2. Proposed amendments to the Agreement shall be submitted to the Committee on Transport of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
3. Amendments to the Agreement shall be considered adopted if approved by a two-thirds majority of the Parties thereto, present at a meeting convened for that purpose. In the case of amendments to Annex I to the Agreement, such majority must include all Parties directly concerned by the proposed amendment.
4. The Committee on Transport of ESCWA shall inform the depositary, within a period of forty-five (45) days, of any amendment adopted pursuant to paragraph 3 of this article.
5. The depositary shall notify all Parties hereto of amendments thus adopted, which shall enter into force for all Parties three (3) months after the date of such notification unless objections from more than one-third of the Parties are received by the depositary within that period of three (3) months.
6. No amendments may be made to the Agreement during the period specified in Article 8 below if, upon the withdrawal of one party, the number of Parties to the Agreement becomes less than five (5).
Withdrawal Any Party may withdraw from this Agreement by written notification addressed to the depositary. Such withdrawal shall take effect twelve (12) months after the date of deposit of the notification unless revoked by the Party prior to the expiration of that period.
Termination This Agreement shall cease to be in force if the number of Parties thereto is less than five (5) during any period of twelve (12) consecutive months.
Dispute settlement 1. Any dispute arising between two or more Parties to this Agreement which relates to its interpretation or application and which the Parties to the dispute have been unable to resolve by negotiation or other means of settlement shall be referred to arbitration if any Party so requests. In such a case the dispute shall be submitted to an arbitral tribunal to which each of the Parties shall appoint one member, and the members thus appointed shall agree on the appointment of a president of the arbitral tribunal from outside their number. If no agreement is reached concerning the appointment of the president of the arbitral tribunal within three (3) months from the request for arbitration, any Party may request the Secretary-General of the United Nations, or whomever he delegates, to appoint a president of the tribunal, to which the dispute shall be referred for decision.
2. The Parties to the dispute shall be bound by the decision to form the arbitral tribunal pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article and by any and all awards handed down by the tribunal. The Parties further undertake to defray the costs of arbitration.
Limits of application of the Agreement Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as preventing a Party hereto from taking any action that it considers necessary to its external or internal security or its interests, provided that such action is not contrary to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Depositary The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the depositary of the Agreement.
Annexes and list of technical terms The three Annexes to the Agreement and the list of technical terms used therein are integral parts of the Agreement.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Agreement.
DONE at Beirut, this 10 May 2001, in the Arabic, English and French languages, all of which are equally authentic.
ARABIC, FRENCH, AND ENGLISH TECHNICAL TERMS USED
(Listed in the alphabetical order of the Arabic terms)
For the definitions of these terms and those contained in the body of the agreement and its annexes one may refer to those annexes and the road specification codes and manuals of the countries of the region, such as the Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian codes, and also the American code as described in the publication of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
ANNEXES TO THE AGREEMENT A. Annex I: Arab Mashreq international road network 1. North-south routes (a) M5 Iraq, East Arabian Peninsula Zakho (Iraq/Turkey) – Mosul – Baghdad – Al Samawah – Basrah – Safwan (Iraq/Kuwait) – Abdally (Kuwait/Iraq) – Kuwait – Nuwayseeb (Kuwait/Saudi Arabia) – Khafji (Saudi Arabia/Kuwait) – Abu Hadriyah (Dammam – Hufuf – Salwa)* – Batha’a (Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates) – Al Ghweifat (United Arab Emirates/ Saudi Arabia) – Abu Dhabi – Dubai – Fujairah – Kalba (United Arab Emirates/Oman) – Khatmat Malahaw (Oman/ United Arab Emirates) – Sohar – Muscat – Nizwa – Thumrayt – Salalah.
(b) M7 Abu Dhabi-Sohar
Abu Dhabi – Al Ayn – Buraimi (United Arab Emirates/Oman) – Buraimi (Oman/ United Arab Emirates) – Sohar.
(c) M9 Al Ayn-Nizwa
Al Ayn – Mazyad (United Arab Emirates/Oman) – Hafit (Oman/ United Arab Emirates) – Nizwa.
(d) M15 Aleppo-Ramadi
Aleppo – Deir Ez Zor – Albu Kamal (Syria/Iraq) – Al kaem – (Iraq/Syria) – Ramadi.
(l) M67 East Delta Kantara Bridge – Ismailia – Cairo.
(m) M75 Nile Valley Alexandria – Cairo – Qena – Arqine (Egypt/Sudan).
2. East-west routes (a) M10 Northern Iraq-East Mediterranean Hajj Omran (Iraq/Iran) – Irbil – Mosul – Rabieyyah (Iraq/Syria) – Yaaroubia (Syria/Iraq) – Kamishli – Aleppo – Lattakia.
(b) M20 Central Syria Kamishli – Hasakah – Deir Ez Zor – Homs – Tartus.
(c) M30 Western Iraq-Eastern Mediterranean Al Rutbah – Al Walid (Iraq/Syria) – Tanf (Syria/Iraq) – Damascus – Jedeidet Yabus (Syria/Lebanon) – Masna’ (Lebanon/Syria) – Beirut.
(d) M40 Iraq, Jordan, Occupied Palestinian Territory and Mediterranean Southern Coast Munthareya (Iraq/Iran) – Khanaqin – Baghdad – Ramadi – Al Rutbah – Tarabil (Iraq/Jordan) – Karamah (Jordan/Iraq) – Al Azraq – Amman – King Hussein Bridge (Jordan/Occupied Palestinian Territory) – Jerusalem – Gaza – Rafah (Egypt/Occupied Palestinian Territory) – Arish – Kantara Bridge – Port Said – Alexandria – Salum (Egypt/Libya).
(e) M50 Baghdad-Cairo Baghdad – Karbala – Al Nukhaib – Jedeidat Ar’ar (Iraq/Saudi Arabia) – Jedeidat Ar’ar (Saudi Arabia/Iraq) – Ar’ar – Sakakah – Qalibah – Tabuk – Ad Durra (Saudi Arabia/Jordan) – Ad Durra (Jordan/Saudi Arabia) – Aqaba – Nuweiba – Nakhel – Shatt – Cairo.
(f) M60 Western Saudi Arabia-Upper Egypt Dhuba – Safaga – Qena – Mutt.
(g) M70 Kuwait-Yanbu* Kuwait – As Salmy (Kuwait/Saudi Arabia) – Ar Ruqi (Saudi Arabia/Kuwait) – Hafar El Batin – Artawiyah – Buraydah – Medina – Yanbu.
(h) M80 Manama-Jeddah Manama – King Fahd Bridge (Bahrain /Saudi Arabia) – Dammam – Riyadh – Mecca – Jeddah.
(i) M90 Doha-Ad Darb Doha – Abu Samra (Qatar/Saudi Arabia) – Salwah (Saudi Arabia/Qatar) – Batha’a (Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates) – Harad – Al Kharj – Sulayyil – Abha – Ad Darb.
(j) M100 Southern Arabian Peninsula Thumrayt – Mazyounah (Oman/Yemen) – Shahan (Yemen/Oman) – Gheizah – Al Mukalla – Aden – Ta’izz – Al Mukha.
B. Annex II: technical specifications to be met on routes in the
Arab Mashreq international road network
Table 1 gives the technical specifications to be met on routes in the Arab Mashreq road network.
The following is a detained description of those specifications.
1. General remarks
To ensure traffic safety, the protection of the environment, the smooth flow of traffic and user comfort, all parts of the routes mentioned in annex I and roads to be added to the international network must satisfy the conditions laid down hereinafter.
All members undertake to use their best efforts to comply with the provisions of this annex both in building new roads and in upgrading existing roads.
2. Classification of international roads
Roads in the Arab Mashreq International Road Network shall be classified as follows:
(a) First-class freeways: roads basically for use by motor vehicles of various types and on which use by bicycles and pedestrians is prohibited. These are dual-carriageway highways divided by a median, on which access is fully controlled by having all their intersections on different levels (interchanges) and having vehicles enter and exit via ramps at a limited number of points, in a manner that does not affect the flow of traffic.
(b) First-class expressways: dual-carriageway highways which are divided by a median and on which access is partially controlled by means of high-efficiency at-grade intersections, while interchanges may be used at certain points, taking into account considerations of safety and accident prevention. Access should be confined to a limited number of exit and entry points, and special lanes should be provided for changing speed and turning at intersections. On such roads, the direct entry and exit of vehicles to and from adjacent roads and establishments is prohibited.
(c) Second-class roads: roads designed to be medium-sized in keeping with the intended volume of traffic on them, affording an appropriate travelling speed. They consist of two lanes, one for each direction, not separated by a median strip. Intersections on such roads are at-grade. Interchanges, however, may be used when necessary. Roads of this type may be used only where there exist land availability constraints or financing is inadequate. Priority should be accorded to upgrading this type.
Table 1. Technical specifications to be met on the routes of the Arab Mashreq international road network
Draft agreement (December 2000)
- These are the actual specifications of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). However, the names of the classes have been changed. In addition, no fourth class has been included as in the case of the Asian network, inasmuch as that class has modest characteristics that make it unsuitable for qualification as an international road.
- The reason for adding the “freeway” class to those proposed in the study by the Council of Arab Ministers of Transport is to increase the efficiency of the international system, inasmuch as that class has excellent speed and safety characteristics and will help reduce traffic congestion and transport costs while improving highway safety.
Degree of access control
Total (grade-separated intersections)
Partial (at-grade/garde-separated intersections)
Design speed (km/hour)
L Level terrain
Agrees with most studies and agreements and with AASHTO policy, subject to the following remark:
- The adoption of a speed of 110-120 km/hour for first-class freeways offers flexibility and is at the same time more in keeping with the unified standards of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
R Rolling terrain
M Mountainous terrain
Design level of service
The standards established by AASHTO have been adopted owing to the importance of this factor, which must not be ignored in the determination of the number of lanes and the design of intersections.
Cross sections between junctions
Right of way (metres)
Agrees with existing specifications and agreements. Despite the fact that the appropriate right of way for a single road is 25 metres, a 40-metre right of way is preferred to permit widening to a dual-carriageway highway in the future, provided that the requisite area is available.
- On small structures the road and shoulders will continue to have the same width.
- On long bridges (> 60 m) a distance of at least 1.20 m should be maintained between the guardrail and the curb.
- On old existing structures, the safety distance may be reduced to 0.60 m, provided that priority is accorded to those structures for improvement or replacement and that the traffic signals and signs necessary for safety are provided.
Table 1 (continued)
Draft agreement (December 2000)
- Smallest possible number of points of intersection (minimum of 3 km between them).
- It is preferable for roads crossing the international road to cross above it, leaving the international road at the ground level
- Maintaining the basic number of lanes constant over suitably long distances.
- Vertical grades should not exceed 8%.
- The length of grades should not exceed the critical length for which the speed drops by 15 km/hour
Road facilities and installations
- The distance from the edge of the roadway to safety barriers, fences and posts should be 3.00 m (1.20)
- Fuel stations every 50 km
- Service station with vehicle repair workshop and rest area at least every 200 km
Axle load as a basis for the structural design of the road (Tons)
Axle load as a basis for defining maximum vehicle load (Tons)
Single front (steering axle): 6.5 Tons
- The vast majority of the ESCWA members have adopted a single rear axle load of 13 Tons which represents, about 82% of the members within ITSAM. It is recommended to use a single axle load of 13 tons in order to reduce transport costs in the region.
- The dual axle load, as referred to in the unified standards of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, has been chosen as the standard.
Single rear: 13 Tons
Distance between axles
Greater than 2.50
Considered as two singles
Maximum vehicle dimensions (metres)
In accordance with the European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries and the Asian Highway uniform specifications.