Former President Clinton Urges Terror Insurance to Spur Private Investment

September 18, 2005

The creation of an insurance program against terror attacks would greatly encourage private investment in places desperate for economic development but beleaguered by conflict, like Gaza, former President Bill Clinton said.

“I would just like to ask that you consider setting up some sort of insurance structure,” Clinton said at a panel discussion Thursday that included King Abdullah II of Jordan, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Then I think we’d have a lot more success in getting venture capital in there.”

The discussion came during the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative conference, a program led by the former president to tackle poverty, climate change, religious strife and other worldwide issues.

None of the panelists offered an opinion on the feasibility of terrorism insurance, but all agreed on the importance of private investment in the region to spur job creation and other development.

The opening session touched on a range of topics, from energy to trade. Discussing the growing need for energy worldwide, Rice said nuclear energy would have to be considered, even with the security concerns that accompany it.

“Civil nuclear power is going to have to be a part of the mix if we’re going to meet” the need, she said.

Discussing Islam, Abdullah got a round of applause when he talked about Muslims becoming part of the foreign countries in which they live.

“If a foreign country gives you the freedom, the respect, the safety to you as a Muslim as it does to the rest of its citizens, then technically you owe your loyalty and allegiance to that nation whether you’re Muslim or not,” he said.

The three-day conference is bringing together 800 participants — from heads of state to business executives to nonprofit-sector leaders — and is requiring that attendees make written pledges about what they plan to do to help over the next year.

Participants who fall short of their pledges can’t come back next year, organizers said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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