Israeli finance minister backs out of Dubai annual meetings

Published September 21st, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Israel’s Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his trip to Dubai where he was to head an 80-strong delegation to the 2003 Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 


Acting on the recommendation of security officials, Netanyahu will remain in Israel to handle other financial matters such as the 2004 State Budget, reported Haaretz. Bank of Israel Governor David Klein will replace the Finance Minister as head of the Israeli delegation.  


Israel’s participation in the dual event is a sensitive subject for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. In view of the fact that Israel is a member of both the World Bank and the IMF, it must be treated equal to other members. No host country can stipulate the non-participation of any member nation, no matter how steep the differences between them.  


During the first hosting vote for the meetings in 2000, the UAE attempted to exclude Israel from the event, but faced strong resistance from Europe and the United States. Between 15,000-20,000 people are expected to attend the corporate meetings, whose initial budget stood at 150 million Emirati dirhams ($40.8 million). According to IMF-World Bank rules, the host country bears the summit expenses. — ( 



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