OPIC Approves $250 Million Political Risk Policy for Israeli Pipeline; Credits Aspen Institute

December 9, 2004

The board of directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced the approval of $250 million in political risk insurance for the construction of a 65-mile pipeline that will serve as the centerpiece of Israel’s natural gas system.

OPIC president and CEO Dr. Peter Watson credited the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Strategy Group (MESG) as instrumental in informing OPIC’s decision on this natural gas project.

“The Aspen Middle East Strategy Group (MESG), whose honorary co- chairs include former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Hagel, and Israeli and Palestinian businessmen Idan Ofer and Samer Khoury, is a new initiative, born out of a deep commitment to peace and concern that the lack of movement in the peace process is deeply affecting the people on both sides of the conflict,” said the announcement.

“The group is united by a common vision of a two-state solution to the conflict — prosperous, secure, and democratic Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side in peace — and the desire to support tangible programs and policies that create momentum toward realizing that vision,” it continued.

“MESG has been very important in informing our decisions on several projects in the region,” Dr. Watson noted. “They were instrumental in providing insights into the context of this project, particularly the potential add-on of Gaza gas to this natural gas network. This project could serve as the catalyst for future cooperation in the region.”

The bulletin noted: “OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self- sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.

“The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open- minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and leadership programs in Africa and Central America.”

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