Jerusalem, 10 January 1995

MIDDLE EAST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BANK

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry spokesman)

At the invitation of President Clinton, delegations from 27 countries and international organizations will convene next week in Washington to discuss the creation of a Regional Bank in the Middle East. The Israeli delegation will be headed by Foreign Ministry Director-General Uri Savir and Finance Ministry Director-General David Brodet. For the first time, the delegation will also participate in a joint Egyptian-Jordanian- Palestinian forum.

The multilateral sub-group dealing with finance has formulated a unanimous position to be presented separately, as a common Middle Eastern economic interest in support of establishing a Regional Bank for the Development of the Middle East. The United States and Japan have also given their support to the plan, although a number of European states have expressed their reservations (as well as stating their preference for existing bodies such as the World Bank).

In recent years, Israel and a number of other states in the region have advocated the creation of a Regional Bank which could support cross-border, infrastructure projects acting both within the public and private sectors. The Bank will also serve as a forum for the formulation of regional trade and investment policy.

Also convening in Washington will be the Steering Committee for the Economic Conference in Amman, planned as a follow-up to the Casablanca Conference. There will also be an unofficial meeting of the donor countries.