U.S. Pursues Idea of Mideast Bank

In an effort to find new funding sources to foster peace in the Middle East, the United States has renewed its push to create a regional development bank.

Capitalizing on momentum from October’s economic summit in Casablanca, the Clinton administration will invite 20 countries to Washington in early January for talks aimed at setting the framework for a Middle East Development Bank, administration officials say.

While Arab states and Israel are committed to pursuing the idea of such a bank, planners ran into problems when question arose over who would fund the venture.

When representatives convene in Washington on Jan. 10 ministers plan to discuss not only funding and management issues but also new ways to funnel aid and encourage investment in the region.

Israeli officials have avidly supported the bank as a way to show citizens throughout the Middle East the Fruits of peace.

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