Regional bank project takes a step forward

30 August 1996

The slow process of setting up the Middle East Development Bank (MEDB) will move forward a stage next week when the bank's articles of association are due to be deposited with the UN, a well-informed source says.

The MEDB, which has authorised capital of $5,000 million, was conceived of as part of the regional peace process states taking a share in the bank project include the US, Japan, Israel, Egypt and other Arab and European countries.

Once the articles have been taken to the UN, these states can start the process of getting the articles ratified by their parliaments.

Those that do so by October 1997 will become founder members of the MEDB. A team of technical experts based in Cairo is currently working on the bank's rules and regulations One bone of contention was the desire of the US to include a condemnation of the Arab economic boycott of Israel in a statement explaining the bank's articles.

The shareholder states have now settled on a form of words which implicitly disavows the boycott, sources close to the project say.

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