Monetary summit excludes PLO

The United States has apparently won its battle to preven the Palestine Liberation Organization from attending the joint annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund opening later this week, Monitor correspondent Geoffrey Godsell writes.

On US initiative, a poll of members was taken on whether to overturn the decision of the chairman of this year's meeting, Tanzanian Finance Minister Amil Jamal, to admit the PLO as an observer for the first time. Saudi Arabia, on the board of both the World Bank and the IMF and an important source of funding for their loans, lobbied against the initiative, urging members to abstain and prevent the necessary quorum.

When a quorum was not mustered by the initial vote-count deadline, the US obtained a postponement of the deadline until Sept. 19, and it is reported that intensive US lobbying produced a quorum at the last minute, with just enough votes to keep the PLO out.

But Arab participants are likely to keep the issue alive when this week's meeting opens. The 43-nation Islamic Foreign Ministers' conference, assembled in Morocco last weekend, called on all Islamic countries to suspend loans and contributions to both the World Bank and the IMF if the PLO' is not granted observer status at the forthcoming meeting.

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