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U.S. Department of State
95/10/25 Briefing:  Joan Spero & Toni Verstandig on Amman Summit
Office of the Spokesman


[Excerts for Daily Press Briefing]


          Briefing on Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit 
                               by
                           Joan Spero
   Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs
                              and
                         Toni Verstandig
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs 

                          October 25, 1995 
 
MR. DAVIES:  Welcome to the State Department briefing room.  We are 
postponing by a little bit the regular briefing.  Nick will be here 
about 1:45 to 2:00 to do that, but first I am delighted to welcome Joan 
Spero to the briefing today. 
 
     As you all know very well, Mrs. Spero is Under Secretary of State 
for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs.  She joins us today to 
talk with you about the Amman economic summit.  The formal title of that 
summit is the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit.  It will be held 
in Amman, Jordan, October 29-3l. 
 
     Under Secretary Spero will make a few introductory remarks.  She 
will be joined by Toni Verstandig, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary 
of State for Near Eastern Affairs.  Toni will be available, as well, to 
answer your questions. 
 
     This, I assume, will go for about a half an hour until the 
questions run out.  Let me turn it over now to Under Secretary Spero.  
Thank you. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Good afternoon, I guess.  I thought what I 
would do is give just a few brief opening remarks and then Toni and I 
will be happy to answer your questions. 
 
     The upcoming Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit in Amman, 
Jordan, as you just heard from the 29th to the 3lst of October, is a 
very crucial part of our efforts in the Middle East peace process. 
 
     The support of regional economic development in the Middle East is 
an important part of this peace process strategy because we believe that 
lasting peace in the region is inextricably linked with concrete 
economic benefits for the people of the region. 
 
     The U.S. strongly believes in the potential of Amman to advance 
economic development and political stability in the Middle East. 
 
     We see this summit as an opportunity to capitalize on new business 
and commercial opportunities which have opened up because of the peace 
process. 
 
     Despite strong natural, geographic and cultural advantages, the 
region has not yet achieved its full economic potential. 
 
     Its traditional focus on political and security issues and outmoded 
statist approaches to development have hampered economic progress. 
 
     We are forging a new public/private partnership through the Amman 
Economic Summit.  Government has a role in reforming the environment in 
which business operates, but only the private sector can marshal the 
resources necessary for long-term growth and development, which in turn 
can make permanent the peace that is now flourishing in the region. 
 
     We believe then that real economic progress ultimately depends on a 
public/private sector partnership and public/private involvement, and we 
are giving a high priority to involving U.S. and other business 
interests in the summit. 
 
     We see the summit then as an excellent opportunity to advance our 
business concerns in the area.  We expect participation by up to 1,000 
business people, including l50 from the United States, and government 
officials from over 60 countries. 
 
     At the summit, we will announce the creation of a development bank 
for the Middle East.  A task force made up of over 30 regional and non- 
regional parties has engaged in intensive work so that we can announce 
this creation at the summit. 
 
     A substantial number of task force participants have already 
decided to join the bank, and others are going to be making up their 
minds. 
 
     The bank is designed to fill very specific needs in the region that 
are not now currently addressed by existing institutions, so it will 
focus on regional infrastructure and regional development and on the 
private sector, complementing the work that is being done already or 
work that potentially can be done by existing financial institutional 
 
     At Amman we will also launch a regional business council and a 
tourism board, all with regional, governmental and private 
participation. 
 
     We believe then that the Amman summit is an important step on the 
road to political and economic advancement in the region as a whole, and 
it has the potential to bring enormous benefits to all who participate. 
 
     I want to note in closing today that today is the first anniversary 
of the Israeli/Jordanian peace treaty.  It is fitting that the Amman 
summit falls so close to this important anniversary.  The summit will 
build directly on the cooperative potential opened up by the treaty and 
it is designed to help extend the economic benefits of peace to all 
nations of the region. 
 
     With that, I will ask Toni to join me at the podium.  Toni, as you 
heard, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary.  She has been very personally 
and directly involved in the peace process, and she and her team have 
worked very hard on the Amman Economic Summit.  She will be happy to 
help answer the questions, as well. 
 
     Q     Joan, so despite predictions to the contrary, the bank will 
be created.  Can you give us some details of it?  Who has signed on?  
Has Israel?  Have the Saudi Arabians?  What is going to be the share of 
financing?  And the countries are going to take on, and so on and so 
forth? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Sort of the over Bank l0l? 
 
     Q     Yes, please. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  The bank -- actually we are very excited 
about this.  I think it is a very important achievement. 
 
     The key countries that have signed on so far are, of course, the 
four regionals -- the Israelis, Egyptians, Jordanians and Palestinians.  
Let me remind you that the idea was their idea originally.  Of course it 
has been elaborated and has evolved over the past year.  So they will be 
participants. 
 
     We will have the U.S., Canada, Japan.  We will have the 
Netherlands; and Italy, we believe, will be signing on soon.  Have I 
missed any other key -- I mean, there are a number of others, but those 
are the key ones.  Oh, Saudi Arabia -- pardon? 
 
     Q     The Saudis? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  The Saudis have actively participated in 
all of the working efforts in the task force and in the experts' group.  
They have not decided yet whether they will join.  They haven't said 
yes, but they haven't said no.  They are keeping their minds open, and 
they are going to wait and see.  That's also the situation for several 
of the European countries.  And I think in the end, for Saudi, the key 
determinants will be how the peace process evolves and how the bank 
itself evolves. 
 
     So what will happen post-Amman is -- and this I think goes to the 
second part of your question -- we have almost finished the articles of 
agreement of the bank, and if any of you would like it for your reading 
pleasure, it is a long technical legal document. 
 
     A couple of issues still need to be completed.  That will involve 
the shares of the bank.  I think you asked that question.  We still have 
to decide exactly how many shares, how they will be allocated, but we 
will leave whatever we do in number of shares open for those who would 
eventually like to join the bank, and that's what they would like to 
have happen. 
 
     The bank will be capitalized probably at about $5 billion, with 
about a billion and a quarter of paid-in capital that will be paid in 
probably over about a five-year period.  That's not very large, but I 
want to stress that the idea here is not to replicate the Inter-American 
Development Bank or the African or the Asian Development Banks, but I 
have been describing it more as a merchant bank, which will have a small 
pot of money which it will use to put deals together, to put together 
transactions, to do co-financing with the World Bank or with a private 
institution or maybe even help leverage some concessional assistance. 
 
     Toni? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  If I could just add, Sid, I 
think on Saudi Arabia it's important to note that they were active 
participants, as Joan said, in the task force.  The Saudis were 
supportive.  They were very professional.  They worked through the 
issues.  And Joan is clearly right, they want to wait and see, but 
that's okay.  I think that following Amman, as we finish up through 
December, we will reevaluate and take stock, and I think the process is 
clearly moving forward. 
 
     On the issues, Joan described the bank as a merchant bank.  In our 
discussions with the private sector, we have heard repeatedly the 
importance of the bank that the private sector places.  They need to be 
able to leverage money.  The more sources that are available for them, 
the easier it is for them to put their money at risk.  And when you are 
talking about projects that are regional in character, that are both a  
public/private dimension, this bank becomes more and more important. 
 
     So, from that aspect the private sector is very interested in 
seeing this bank move forward, and will, I think, be helpful players 
getting from here to there. 
 
     Q     Just a follow up.  Would it fair to say, then, for the Saudis 
and other Arab countries that adhere to the embargo of Israel, that that 
was the issue for them -- they don't want to participate in this with 
Israel until -- as long as the boycott remains in place in occupied 
territory? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  That's not the issue.  I 
think you need to remind yourself of the fact that last September the 
GCC signed on to getting rid of the secondary and tertiary aspects of 
the boycott.  They have done so.  If you'll look at the statistics, they 
are increasingly down in terms of boycott requests because governments 
are enacting measures to get rid of any boycott language in all the 
contracts and all the documents.  It's moving forward. 
 
     Joan is right.  It's a broader peace process issue.  They're always 
calibrating their relations in the context of the bigger picture; 
especially the picture as it relates to the last two issues -- 
obviously, Syria and Lebanon. 
 
     Q     Ms. Spero, what's in this bank and in this economic 
conference for Syria?  What inducements might there be for Syria to come 
back and complete the negotiations with Israel? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I think those are slightly two separate 
questions.  As far as the conference itself goes, the door has been 
open.  The Jordanians have said repeatedly that the door was open to 
Syrian participation.  I don't think that there will be Syrian 
participation.  I think the reason for that is because they have not 
completed their piece of the peace process and they want to distance 
themselves for now. 
 
     So far as Amman goes, it's a business meeting as well as a 
government meeting.  The door was opened to them.  They have chosen not 
to come to Amman. 
 
     As far as the rest of the peace process, Toni, I don't know if 
there's anything you want to add on that. 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  I think at this point, we 
can just leave it there, if that's okay. 
 
     Q     What do you expect in the scope and in the nature of the 
participation of the Egyptian private sector in Amman? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Why don't you -- you know specifically. 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  The Egyptians are very 
engaged.  We're going to see eight of their Ministers and a very fulsome 
private sector delegation. 
 
     Q     The problem is, you can talk to the Ministers? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  You're right, and the 
private sector.  Let me remind you -- and Joan chairs for the Vice 
President the Gore-Mubarak Initiative -- we have been able to use the 
President's Council to our advantage in terms of getting the private 
sector more engaged in these issues.  We worked very closely -- 
Ambassador Ned Walker -- had very active outreach with that President's 
Council.  You will see a very good private sector delegation and 
representation. 
 
     They are very interested in this summit, and they're interested in 
the engagement post-Amman.  There will be regional project presentations 
which the Egyptians have been extremely -- private sector -- involved in 
terms of looking at projects that would seek to include Egypt in a 
peace. 
 
     Q     If I may just follow up.  Do you anticipate that any of those 
participants will represent enterprises large enough to make any 
difference? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  Yes, I do.  I do.  I feel 
pretty good about the Egyptian private sector delegation. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  There is a preliminary list, I think, of 
participants. 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  The problem with the list 
is, it changes by the minute.  So what I give you now would not really 
represent -- I'd be happy to make it available, but it's not up to date 
because registration continues. 
 
     Q     Joan, could you say something about the lending policy of the 
bank?  Is the bank going to be lending money at market rates?  Will 
there be concessional rates?  Will it be targeting infrastructure or 
special projects?  And will it be lending to both the governments and to 
private lenders?  Or how will this operate? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  One of the things that we made very clear -
- those of us who were potential donors or major contributors to the 
bank made by very clear from the beginning -- was that this was not to 
be a concessional bank.  So it is to be lending at "market rates."  That 
would be equivalent of World Bank rates. 
 
     We know, of course, that many institutions would not have access to 
lending at those rates, but this will not have a concessional window.  
So it will be, again, lending at World Bank type of rates, so hard 
lending. 
 
     The articles provide for a variety of activities of the bank:  from 
lending directly to public or private sector entities, particularly, 
again, with a regional focus; it also provides for the possibility of 
lending through other commercial entities, say, as the EBRD does -- 
those of you who are familiar with these institutions -- the European 
Bank for Reconstruction and Development -- has done lending to 
commercial financial institutions for on-lending so that you can get to 
the smaller institutions, smaller borrowers. 
 
     There is also the possibility -- I think it's in there now -- of 
insurance and kind of guarantees.  So it will have a whole panoply of a 
lot of strings to its bow. Exactly which ones it will deploy at what 
time remains to be determined by the management of the bank. 
 
     Q     Can you tell us what American companies will be 
participating?  And do you have a list? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  We do have a list.  There will be broad 
range from small, medium -- Toni, do you want to comment? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  We have good list -- 
ranging from Sprint, AMOCO, ENRON, Mobile, NYNEX, Lockeed-Martin, who 
just recently won the feasibility study for the Aqaba Airport which 
would be a feasibility study on a regional airport at a lot in Aqaba; 
Battle, Foster-Wheeler.  This is just sort -- we've got Salomon 
Brothers, Harvey Kruger from Lehman Brothers.  Very good representation 
from the financial sectors. 
 
     A good representation on the tourism hotel side.  You'll see the 
Amman summit is going to be a much more focused summit.  That doesn't 
mean there won't be political speeches because there will.  It is a 
public/private summit.  That means you have to have some of the 
political representations, but there is adequate time we factored in 
from Casablanca in this program for more networking between the 
government and private sector, more time for the private sector to sort 
to get together among themselves. 
 
     We're very pleased with the representation at this point. 
 
     Q     How soon would the bank begin making loans, getting money on 
the ground?  And would the priorities be set by the bank -- you 
mentioned, for example, infrastructure?  Or would it be driven by who 
applies and what sort of private market needs are demonstrated? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I think all of us recognize from either our 
direct or indirect historical experience that it takes a while to get a 
bank up and running.  So probably -- it's hard to imagine that this bank 
will be fully capitalized before, let's say, a couple of years from now. 
 
     But one of the things that became very clear is that the 
participants want the activities to get going sooner.  So one of the 
things that there is strong agreement on is that one piece of the bank, 
which is called "The Forum" should start sooner than the rest of it. 
 
     This bank is different, as I would sort of describe it.  It is a 
combination of a merchant bank and a policy forum. 
 
     The Forum is a policy wing of the bank, I guess we could call it -- 
one dimension of the bank -- that will provide for economic policy 
coordination among participants from the region, to give an example.  
The thinking has been that if you're going to do lending or put together 
a package for, let's say, an electricity program, you really need to 
have governments working together -- if these are regional programs, 
they're going to have to work together on pricing of that electricity or 
you're going to probably have some misallocation of resources. 
 
     Therefore, the Forum would provide the mechanism for appropriate 
policy coordination, whether it's on use of water or transportation 
systems or electricity. 
 
     Now, there's a reason for that, because the bank is the carrot to 
encourage regional economic coordination and dialogue which is, again, 
how it feeds back in to not only economic development but also to the 
peace process.  So that's a long explanation to say that the we hope 
that the Forum will get going sooner. 
 
     In addition, there is another idea that people want to get off the 
ground sooner.  There was a lot of talk in the experts' group about the 
idea of a project preparation facility.  We didn't have a better name -- 
a project preparation facility; some capability to do pre-feasibility 
studies that could then feed (inaudible) eventually into bank financing. 
 
     So one of the mandates that will be coming out of Amman, we just 
didn't have time to finish the work on that.  So one of the things that 
the Task Force will continue to work on is whether it's possible to get 
a project preparation facility up and running to begin to set the stage 
for bank lending. 
 
     Again, I want to stress, we tried to learn lessons from the EBRD, 
where it took a lot of time.  They had a nice building with a lot of 
marble and very large staff, and nobody wants that.  It may be possible 
to get this thing going sooner, particularly if we get into the business 
of co-financing where the bank, as I say, could leverage funds from, 
let's say, the World Bank or the European Investment Bank or the private 
sector. 
 
     We want to get it going sooner, but we also want to be realistic 
about doing it the right way. 
 
     Q     So it could, reasonably, a couple of years before loans are 
actually -- 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I would say that would be the outside 
limit.  I wouldn't rule out the possibility, particularly because of the 
co- 
financing, that we could get going sooner. 
 
     Q     Is this only open to the front-line states -- Israel and its 
neighbors?  Where are the other countries in this process?  How many 
heads of state and government are going to be there?  You call it a 
"summit meeting." 
 
     And, thirdly, is there any U.S. taxpayer contribution envisioned in 
this? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I think there are two issues here.  One is 
the bank and one is the summit.  So maybe you want to comment on who is 
coming to the summit?  Do you want to start with that? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  The summit is -- you will 
see Prime Minister Rabin, Chairman Arafat, to name a few -- Foreign 
Minister Kono will be there; Kozyrev from Russia; Secretary Brown, 
Secretary Christopher on our side; Musa.  You will have representation 
from both foreign-ministry level as well as commerce.  Again, it's to 
underscore the focus and emphasis on trade and business. 
 
     On the bank, I think it's important to note the name of the bank -- 
the bank is intended also.  It is inclusive.  It is not just for the 
four regional parties even though those four regionals are the core.  
They are the ones driving the issue.  Their idea came from the REDWG 
Monitoring Committee, the financial aspect.  They are the ones driving 
the importance of this bank, but that doesn't mean it's to the exclusion 
of the others. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Actually, it's called the Bank for Middle 
East and North Africa.  The Moroccans and the Tunisians and others have 
all participated in it.  I think the ones who right now are still 
watching are the Gulf States, and, of course, Syria and Lebanon. 
 
     Q     I think the U.S. is one of the three. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Sorry. 
 
     Q     U.S. taxpayer contribution? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Eventually, if there will be the 
capitalization of the bank, all of us who would like to contribute to 
the bank will have to go to our legislators for capital contribution.  
But, as I say, that would be a little ways out. 
 
     Did we get all of your questions? 
 
     Q     Is there any chance that the Europeans, such as Germany and 
the U.K., will sign on before the meeting?  And, if not, how long do you 
think it will take -- 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I don't think that we'll see Germany and 
the U.K. sign up by the time of Amman.  But they've made it very clear 
that they want to leave the door open, they want to wait, they want to 
see, they want to have consultations.  That's fine with us, and that's 
the agreement we have.  They want to continue to work with us, they want 
to continue to participate in the Task Force.  They might want to 
participate in the Project Preparation Facility.  So the door is very 
much open.  But I don't expect any change between now and Amman. 
 
     Q     Algeria will attend this meeting? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  I believe Algeria is but 
I'm not positive. 
 
     Q     You said that Syria and Lebanon were a factor in the decision 
by Saudi Arabian Gulf States.  You indicated that.  Are you believing 
that Saudi Arabia will be at the summit, I presume? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  Yes. 
 
     Q     But they will not participate in the banking sessions, or 
what is going to be the relationship -- 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Let me differentiate between the summit and 
the bank.  I maybe didn't explain that. 
 
     This meeting that's taking place in Amman, the summit, I think of 
it at least as having two parts.  One part is what will happen on the 
business side, the private sector side.  A large number of 
representatives.  A lot of sessions focused on specific sectors and 
specific issues -- business interaction. 
 
     If any of who have ever been to the World Economic Forum meeting in 
Davos, you may have a sense of what I'm talking about.  It's actually 
being run by the Davos people. 
 
     The second piece of is what the government officials will be doing.  
As Toni said, they'll be making speeches and meeting with each other, 
but they will also be making decisions about specific institutions -- 
three of them:  the tourism group, the business group, and the bank. 
 
     So the bank will be launched at Amman. 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  Could I speak to the Saudi 
issue?  I think you are overstating it.  Saudi Arabia is supportive of 
the peace process.  They're supportive today of the peace process.  
Prince Saud's attendance at the Washington Summit three weeks ago was a 
testament of that.  Prince Saud's statement at the ad hoc Liaison 
Committee in which Saudi Arabia pledged an additional $100 million for 
the Palestinians was very important.  It wasn't just a pledge; it was 
the spirit in which he pledged it. 
 
     Saudi Arabia and King Fahd has repeatedly said that they are 
supportive of the peace process.  The reality is that the Gulf -- 
they're more cautious, they're a little farther away.  They are always 
seeking to  
calibrate their response.  They also have just come out of some 
financial difficulties.  Their budget situation is now in good shape.  
Their economic situation is in good shape.  So I think they're in the 
process of reviewing a number of factors. 
 
     We have not put the question to them because we haven't finished 
the work on the articles, which Joan pointed out will not occur until 
the end of December.  So it's not as though the question has been put to 
them:  You have to sign up now or not.  So it's not.  It's an evolving 
process.  The Saudis have been engaged, and engaged favorably. 
 
     Their representation -- they have a very good private sector 
delegation coming to Amman, and they will be represented at the 
ministerial level.  That's important. 
 
     Three weeks ago the GCC issued a statement, endorsing the Amman 
summit.  That is important.  That could not be done in the absence of 
Saudi support.  They're small measures, but they're important, and the 
peace process is sort a building block constantly of some of the smaller 
blocks, building one on top of each other.  So try to put it in context 
a little bit. 
 
     Q     Is the United States going to be working, I assume, to try 
and help American businesses as well, particularly with respect to 
Israel?  Correct me if my figures aren't exactly right, but I believe 
that about half of Israel's foreign business goes to Europe; only about 
20 percent to the United States, and yet the political calculus seems to 
be  
completely the opposite. 
 
     I wondered if we're going to try and be pushing American interests 
- 
- business interests, commercial interests? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  A couple of comments on that.  I don't 
remember the exact figures, but you've got the magnitudes roughly right, 
that the Israelis trade much more with Europe than with the U.S., but 
that's because they're a natural market. They're right there. 
 
     We have a free trade agreement with Israel.  Actually, when 
Ambassador Kantor was in Israel and the West Bank last week, we extended 
that and planned to extend it in the agricultural sector, which actually 
will benefit us.  So over time we're going to be opening up the FTA more 
in areas that it had not applied to before. 
 
     I know that I regularly meet -- we've been meeting twice a year -- 
with the senior Israeli economic officials, and part of our agenda is to 
open up commercial relations.  So we actively work on that.  But it's 
not surprising that Israel has greater trade with the EU than it does 
with the U.S. because of geography. 
 
     As far as the Amman summit goes, one of the reasons that we have 
been supportive of a significant U.S. delegation is we see this -- from 
a State Department perspective, we have really a couple of interests.  I 
mean, one interest is, as I've said, the peace process, economic 
development undergirding our traditional security and political goals in 
the region. 
 
     But in addition, we like to open markets for American business.  
It's one of the things we do.  We work very closely with our Commerce 
Department colleagues and with USTR.  We think there are opportunities.  
We can lead the horse to water.  Whether the horse wants to drink or not 
is something the horse has to decide. 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  May I just have one.  On 
Israel, your statistics are about right.  It's getting better.  As Joan 
points out, she meets not only twice a year; she meets more regularly.  
We have the Israeli delegations here quite often.  Joan was just 
recently out in Israel.  It's a topic of discussion. 
 
     We have gotten more favorable response from the Israelis.  Our 
Ambassador has done a very good job.  This is a priority for him in 
Israel, and he has been very active in promoting the U.S. private sector 
in Israel. 
 
     Q     Turkey wants to join this operation.  Did they finalize their 
desire?  Do you have any idea? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Do you mean the Bank? 
 
     Q     Yes. 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I'll have to get back to you.  I'm sorry.  
You caught us. 
 
     Q     You said you wanted to be able to open markets for U.S. 
companies.  The banks historically have trouble getting information to 
the U.S. business community on business opportunities.  How are you 
going to build into the articles and into the management of the bank 
information flow to the business community; particularly the Asian Bank, 
European Bank, the African Bank have real trouble getting information to 
the States for the business community?  What are you doing now at the 
formative stages to ensure that there is a good information program to 
get this information back here? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  We're doing a lot right 
now.  We have a couple of examples for you.  This summit process is one.  
The Commerce Department has a home page on the Amman summit.  It has 
been very well utilized by the private sector.  It will stay up and 
running.  We are using that home page effort to update both with the 
world economic forum project information coming from Amman, and also, as 
you may recall, in Casablanca we established an Executive Secretariat, 
which is intended to help put this kind of private sector information 
together. 
 
     It's a process.  We are engaged in the process.  This is not about 
one summit.  It's about our constant effort.  By the time the bank 
actually occurs, it will be in a much better shape than others.  Your 
point on some of the other regions -- in fact, we've been meeting with 
the Moroccans who chair the Executive Secretariat and trying to work 
with them on establishing a link with APEC, for example, because that's 
a natural. 
 
     So I think by the time the bank's up and running, they'll have a 
lot of project information, and things will occur much more quickly. 
 
     Q     Go back to George's question.  With all due respect, it 
sounds to me as if you have an agreement in principle to create this 
bank, because, as you said, the funding of it -- and that's the heart of 
the bank -- has to come from each country's legislature. 
 
     My question is, would you disagree?  And, secondly, how on earth do 
you expect to get Jesse Helms and his crowd to authorize funding for 
this bank when they're not even -- they don't want to pay for U.S. 
Government operations? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  We've already had some dialogue with the 
Hill on the bank.  They're aware of our preparations, and we've actually 
had very positive signals from them.  We have not gone up with any 
specific request at this point, because we're not ready to do that. 
 
     We think that when it's ready and when the time is ripe, that we'll 
have to make a good case.  We expect that we can make a good case, and 
we think it's a very good bargain. 
 
     As I said, the capitalization will be relatively limited -- $1.25 
billion paid in over five years.  That's total capitalization.  If you 
said that the U.S. would take somewhere between 10 and 20 percent, this 
is not going to be a big chunk. 
 
     In fact, what a number of the countries have said to us is that 
this is a very good way to leverage funding.  I think all of us realize 
that we are no longer in a position to do massive concessional flows to 
the Middle East or to any place else.  The world has changed. 
 
     Not only has the world changed, but our thinking about economics 
has changed.  I think if we look at the success stories in development, 
it is very often those countries that have taken small amounts of public 
concessional funds and leveraged it with open markets, with 
liberalization, and with trade flows, and that's sort of the Asian 
story. 
 
     So I think that the countries of the Middle East are recognizing -- 
and certainly the donors are recognizing -- that the best thing we can 
do, not only in terms of our own budget constraints but also in terms of 
the best route to economic development is to provide funds in the form 
of banks and in the form of packaging and coordinating the flows 
combined with openness to the private sector. 
 
     So we think this is a sort of a modern kind of institution and a 
modern approach to development.  We think we have a very strong case, 
and we're prepared to make that case. 
 
     MR. DAVIES:  One more question. 
 
     Q     Let me just follow up.  No one has committed funds to the 
bank yet, though? 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  No.  We all have to go.  In fact, it says 
in the declaration that we all have to start our national legislative 
processes.  Of course, we do. 
 
     Q     How about one more?  Where's it going to be? 
 
     DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY VERSTANDIG:  The venue for the bank will 
be announced in the declaration.  (Laughter) 
 
     UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  Stay tuned.  Thank you all. 
 
     MR. DAVIES:  Thank you very much. 
 
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