21 May, 2007

Foundation for the Future

The Foundation for the Future was first announced in Bahrain in November 2005 by foreign and development ministers of the broader Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States. The Foundation is an independent set-up, involving governments and civil society to support civil society organisations in their efforts to foster democracy and freedom in the broader Middle East and North Africa.

From the onset, the Foundation obtained pledges of US$56 million. Thus far the Foundation only received funds from Turkey, the United Kingdom and Jordan, among others. The US has not disbursed any funds to the Foundation.

I was invited to join the board of the Foundation in mid 2006 together with representatives from Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq, Spain, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, US, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Switzerland and Qatar.

The other board members include Kamel Abu Jaber, advisor to the Jordanian Foreign Minister; Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross; Professor Ibrahim Kallin, advisor to the Foreign Minister of Turkey; and Sandra Day O’ Connor, former US Supreme Court justice.

The first board meeting was convened in Doha, Qatar at the invitation of Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, the Foreign Minister and presently Prime Minister of Qatar on 15 July 2006, and I was unanimously elected as the first honorary chairman. The decision was to set up the headquarters in Beirut.

However, in the Board Meeting on 4 December 2006 in Amman, Jordan, I met the Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdelelah Al-Khatib, who endorsed the setting up of the regional secretariat in Amman due to the delay in the Beirut headquarters as a result of the Israeli attack on Lebanon. The next board meeting will convene in 29-30 May 2007 in Bahrain, Lebanon.

I did not appoint Ms. Shaha Ali Reza to the Foundation. She was first assigned by the World Bank through the US State Department to the Foundation in late 2005 before I became Chairman. The executive committee of the decided in mid 2006 to regularise the appointment so that Shaha advises directly from the World Bank and not the State Department.

The board will issue a full statement after the meeting in Bahrain next week. However, due to the incessant propaganda from the UMNO controlled-media, I have decided to issue this statement. If there is no clarification by the media on the matter, the Foundation will not hesitate to institute legal action against the relevant parties.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Foundation for the Future Chairman

May 20th 2007



Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has denied having a hand in getting the high pay rise for Shaha Ali Riza, girlfriend of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.

The former deputy prime minister, who is the chairman of Foundation for the Future, said he did not appoint Shaha Riza to the foundation.

“She was first assigned by the World Bank, through the US State Department, to the foundation in late 2005, before I became chairman.

“The executive committee decided in mid-December 2006 to regularise the appointment so that Shaha (Riza) advised directly from the World Bank and not the State Department,” he said in a statement.

News reports had said that Anwar had written to a letter to Robin Cleveland, Wolfowitz’s counsellor at the World Bank, last October, asking for Riza to be transferred from the State Department to the foundation.

The move raised her pay by 36% from US$133,000 (RM452,250) to US$193,590(RM658,255).

In his press statement, Anwar said the setting up of the Foundation for the Future was announced in Bahrain in November 2005.

The aim was for an independent body, comprising governments and civil societies to support non-government organisations (NGOs) in developing democracy and freedom in the Middle East and North Africa.

He said US$56mil (RM190.5mil) was promised to the foundation but to date, it had only received funds from Turkey, the UK and Jordan, and none from the US.

Anwar said he had been invited to join the board of the foundation in mid-2006 along with representatives from Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq, Spain, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Switzerland and Qatar.

At the first board meeting, he said he was unanimously chosen as the chairman.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin had said on Sunday that Anwar must explain his role in the controversy involving Wolfowitz and Riza, clarify his relationship with Wolfowitz, and explain his motives for heading a foundation “bankrolled” by the US.

"Anwar has to explain because this is an irregularity and abuse of power at the international level," he said.

Malaysiakini reported that PKR Youth secretary SD Johari has pulled out from the race to be the wing’s deputy chief. He points the finger at party adviser Anwar Ibrahim for this. More



Paul Wolfowitz's fall from grace is symptomatic of the double standards and hypocrisy of the World Bank and strains the marriage between neo-liberal policies and militarism that he embodied, say activists and analysts.

Wolfowitz, an architect of the war on Iraq, finally bowed to pressure after a favouritism scandal involving his girlfriend, ex-bank employee Shaha Riza. He is due to step down as Bank president on Jun. 30, three days after another key player in the aggression on Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, heads for the exit..(more)



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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that Anwar is Chairman of FFF (Foundation for Future) as he seems to enjoy the favour and support of the Americans. They are returning his favour for his role in helping the American "financial predators" to almost desvastating the Malaysian economy during the Asian Crisis by legalising "short selling" of the currency and stock markets early 1997. I will always view him as a Traitor to the country!!!

May 22, 2007 12:28 AM  

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