WASHINGTON (Jul. 11)
Israel and eight other countries formally became members of the Inter-American Development Bank last Thursday. They are the first states outside the Western Hemisphere to join the financial institution that is made up of the United States, Canada, and 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Hanan Bar-On, Political Minister at the Israeli Embassy, signed the agreement of Israel’s membership in a ceremony at the Pan American Union building. Eytan Raff, the Embassy’s economic counsellor, who will temporarily serve as Israel’s member on the bank’s governing board, was present. Representatives of Belgium Denmark, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, West Germany and Yugoslavia were other signatories.
These nine countries signed the declaration of Madrid, Dec. 17, 1974, indicating their intention to join the bank once their parliamentary procedures could be accomplished. Austria, Italy and The Netherlands also signed the declaration and they are expected to become bank members shortly. Since then, France announced its intention to join.
The Inter-American Bank has been negotiating for four years to get more capital. While the non-Western Hemisphere countries are full members, their voting is limited and the bank will not lose its Inter-American character, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed in a letter here by the bank’s president, Antonio Ortiz Mena. He described the signing ceremony as “an event of fundamental importance” for the bank’s future.
Israel’s input of $9,988,522 is the smallest of the contributions to be made by the nine new members and the four others slated to join. The total contributions of the 13 countries is approximately $880 million. Bank officials noted that by being a member a country will enable its producers to bid on projects to be financed by bank loans. The bank’s loans in 1975 totaled a about $1.3 billion.