Moslem Morocco and Catholic Spain are to build a bridge to link Europe and Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar, the Atlantic gateway to the Mediterranean.

"I hope it will be built before 2000," Morocco's King Hassan said in a recent interview with the Spanish daily ABC.He gave no estimate of the cost of the project or when work was expected to start on the link across the busy waterway, about 10 miles wide at its narrowest point and 250-900 yards deep.

In Morocco the project is considered as significant as the building of the Suez Canal more than 100 years ago to connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.