Photo: Channel 2
Clinton and Peres (Archive photo)
Photo: Channel 2
Clinton to run Israeli-Jordanian project
Vice Premier Shimon Peres enlists help of world leaders to take part in joint project aimed at economically developing Arava region in southern Israel
Vice Premier Shimon Peres is working to establish a board of directors for an Israeli-Jordanian diplomatic-economic project in the Arava region in southern Israel, headed by several world leaders.


Peres revealed his plan Tuesday at the 2006 Energy Convention held in the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan.


Among the leaders on the list: Former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister John Major, former Turkish President Suleiman Demirel and former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez.


In his speech at the convention, Peres elaborated on the regional project, saying that its estimated cost is between USD 7-8 million. He added that he already held talks with several large investment companies and banks, such as the Dutch ING Bank, which expressed their readiness to invest large sums of money in the peace project.


"There are trillions of dollars wandering around the world looking for investments. There is no problem to guarantee that some of this money will be transferred to our region, which includes today about 310 million people and will double itself within 20 years," Peres said.


He added that the project is composed of joint ventures, including the following: Upgrading the Aqaba Airport, which will serve both countries
with an Israeli terminal and a Jordanian terminal, joint copper mining in the Timna area, building two tourism enterprises in the Arava with water derived from the Red Sea, transferring 650 million cubic meters of water from the Red Sea in a bid to save the Dead Sea, and developing a joint industrial zone in the Beit Shean Valley. A similar industrial zone has already been built on the Jordanian side and is expected to sell goods worth USD 1.5 billion in the coming year.


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