Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Gulf Arab states pledge US$2.5bn in aid to Jordan

AP, RIYADH

Jordanian King Abdullah II and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah greet each other at a meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the economic crisis in Jordan.

Photo: AFP PHOTO / SAUDI ROYAL PALACE / BANDAR AL-JALOUD

Three Gulf Arab states yesterday pledged US$2.5 billion in aid to Jordan in an effort to stabilize the US-allied kingdom as it faces its worst protests in years over government austerity plans that include tax increases.

The money from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is to go toward a deposit in the Jordanian Central Bank, cover World Bank guarantees for the kingdom, offer budget support and finance other development projects.

The hope is that the five-year aid package, which mirrors a similar aid package offered by Gulf states in 2011, will help Jordan come up with a new, more palatable austerity plan to satisfy international lenders and the public.

The money came after an early morning meeting in Mecca attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II, Saudi King Salman, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah and Dubai Emir Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Also on hand was assertive Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, 32, although he sat off to the side of a circular table that hosted the leaders.

The statement quoted King Abdullah II as saying that he hopes the aid would help his country overcome its fiscal crisis.

In December 2011, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that is headquartered in Saudi Arabia pledged to give US$2.5 billion in aid each to Jordan and Morocco, both of which had been invited to join the regional group that year.

The pledge from the council was to last five years. It expired last year and the six-member council has yet to offer any additional funding as the bloc remains split by a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

Jordan receives more than US$1 billion each year from the US, as well as aid from Europe and elsewhere.

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