WASHINGTON (Sep. 23)
The World Bank was expected late today to announce the results of the vote by the Reconstruction and Finance Corporation and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the bank’s two main branches, on whether the Palestine Liberation Organization would have observer status at the bank’s annual meeting here next week.
Sources at the bank told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that while the voting took place last Friday, certain procedural matters remain to be completed. The voting of the 140 member countries in the IMF and the 135 in the World Bank are weighted depending on the size of their country’s quotas in financing the institution.
The vote on the PLO is technically on a United States resolution which states that the observers for the annual meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 3 should remain the same as that of last year. The PLO was not an observer then.
For this year, however, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, two of the largest contributors to the IMF and the bank, have demanded the PLO’s entry as on observer and they have threatened that unless their request is granted, they will withdraw their funds and refuse to endorse loans, even though the bank’s credits are required by the poorer countries of the world to buy food for their people in times of stress.
Should the vote favor observer status, then the decision will be up to the chairmen of the boards of governors of the two institutions on whether to invite the PLO to be an observer. The chairman, Amir Jamal, Finance Minister of Tanzania who will preside over the annual joint meeting, reportedly has said that he will invite the PLO on his own authority as chairman.
Both the U.S. Senate and House have warned the bank that the U.S. would look gravely upon allowing the PLO, which is neither a state nor a government and is considered by many as a terrorist organization, to be officially recognized by the bank. The House last week by a resolution with only two dissenting votes, declared that the U.S. government should decrease its support to the bank if the PLO is granted observer status.
Should the executive boards reject observer status today, the Arab countries are expected to press for it at the annual meeting next week.