US banks on peace in the Middle East
Wednesday 01 November 1995
In the face of opposition from Europe and Arab oil states, the US has forced through the establishment of a Middle East development bank as an economic symbol of the peace agreements that Israel has signed with the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt.
The Middle East and North Africa development bank, agreed yesterday at the economic summit in Amman and with capital of $5bn (pounds 3.2bn), is regarded with suspicion by Saudi Arabia and other oil states, which think they may be called on to fund it.
West European states believe enough financial institutions funding development exist already in the Middle East.
Israel and the US want to institutionalise the peace accords agreed with the PLO in 1993 and Jordan in 1994.
Warren Christopher, the US Secretary of State, told the summit, attended by more than 1,000 officials and businessmen, that "the bank's establishment is a major milestone, not least because it is the first such initiative put forward by the parties to the peace process themselves".
Another sign that Israel is establishing economic links with the Arab world is its agreement with Qatar to buy $3bn of liquefied natural gas, signed yesterday. Israel will also belong to a regional tourist board being established in the region.
Israel's Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, denied Israel seeks to control the Middle East economy but there is no doubt it is breaking out of economic isolation. The new development bank will be based in Cairo to satisfy Egypt, which fears it is being marginalised as other Arab leaders establish relations with Israel.
Jordan has good reason to be satisfied with the summit, which enabled it to improve ties with Washington and the Gulf Arabs, which have been frosty owing to its neutrality in the Gulf war. Yasser Arafat, the PLO chairman, has similar motives and needs aid to underpin his rule in Gaza and the West Bank.
Despite the agreements in Amman on the bank, tourism and Qatari gas, relations between the participants remain prickly. The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Amr Moussa, criticised Jordan for hurrying to normalise relations with Israel. King Hussein replied: "Egypt preceded us by 17 years." Mr Peres also clashed with Arab journalists, asking if they wanted Israel "to commit suicide".
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photo leak: 'These are completely fake'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
London 'terror threat': Metropolitan police deny tube attack hoax
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...
£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...