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Lebanese President Aoun Proposes Arab Reconstruction and Development Bank

Jan. 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Echoing the Schiller Institute’s continued calls in recent years, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon said in his opening speech of the Arab Economic Summit held in Beirut Jan. 20, that he proposes the creation of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development, and the reconstruction of the Arab countries that have been affected by war and terrorism in recent years should become a priority. Aoun said he “has titled this summit ‘prosperity is the name of peace.’ ”

“I hereby put forth my initiative aimed at adopting the strategy of reconstruction for development, calling to set up efficient mechanisms that live up to these challenges and to the requirements of reconstruction, at the top of which the establishment of an Arab Bank for Reconstruction and Development,”

Aoun said. According to a wire published in the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA), he also stressed the necessity of setting up efficient mechanisms that live up to the requirements of reconstruction and development in the Arab world. “Against this background, I call on all the Arab institutions and financing funds to meet in Beirut during the coming three months to discuss and finalize these mechanisms,” he added.

The Schiller Institute, as recently as November 2017, issued a call for the creation of a regional bank for reconstruction and development, in the Special Report Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa, (Chapter 4: “Financing Regional and National Infrastructure”) outlining the credit mechanism through which such a bank could function in accordance with Lyndon LaRouche’s and Alexander Hamilton’s concepts of productive credits. The same call was published in the Arabic translation of the EIR Special Report The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge which was launched from Egypt at a special event hosted by the Egyptian Transport Minister in February 2016.

On April 7, 2017, then French Presidential candidate and Schiller Institute associate Jacques Cheminade met with President Aoun in Beirut to discuss the prospects for peace and development in Syria and the wider region. In his press conference after meeting with President Aoun, Cheminade emphasized the importance of economic development as the basis for any durable peace in the region. (See EIR, “Jacques Cheminade Meets Lebanese President, Works To Bring Peace Throughout the Middle East,” April 21, 2017)

In July 2018, President of China Xi Jinping pledged in his speech at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum conference, to provide $20 billion for a reconstruction fund targeting specifically Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen. Xi addressed this issue in the context of the Arab countries joining the Belt and Road Initiative. Later, China and Arab officials met in Lebanon to discuss the mechanism of a joint reconstruction fund, incorporating the Chinese funds with Arab funds. This is obviously what President Aoun is hinting at.

However, given the fact that the wealthiest Arab countries are British-controlled, and given the massive control the IMF and World Bank have historically enjoyed over the poorer Arab countries, this idea might be derailed from its real intention as expressed by President Aoun, President Xi and the Schiller Institute. EIR will follow up this issue in the coming months.

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