Bush promises support for Negev, Galilee development

Bush promises support for Negev, Galilee development
Globes - April 12, 2005
Ran Dagoni, Washington


President George W. Bush promised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that the US would support development of the Negev and Galilee during the meeting at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, yesterday.

Following the meeting, Israel Ambassador to the US Daniel Ayalon told "Globes" that the Israeli delegation, including himself, Ministry of Finance director general Dr. Joseph Bachar, and the new Economic Minister to North America Ron Dermer, would meet Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Faryar Shiraz and State Department officials next week to discuss how make Bush's promise a reality.

At the start of his joint press conference with Sharon, Bush said, "Today, we discussed ways to expand cooperation of our economies. The Prime Minister believes that developing Negev and the Galilee regions is vital to ensuring a vibrant economic future for Israel. I support that goal and we will work together to make his plans a reality."

It is not clear if and how US aid for development of the Negev and Galilee will be part of Israel's request for US aid for financing the disengagement plan. Sharon did not mention numbers or specific plans, because preparation work in Jerusalem on the request is not yet complete.

The Israeli team's talks in Washington will be part of the semiannual Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) talks. The talks are held alternatively in Washington and Jerusalem. The Ministry of Finance director general heads the Israeli team, and the US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Affairs heads the US team.