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Gulf states pledge $2.5b for struggling Jordan

June 11, 2018

Gulf monarchies have offered Jordan $2.5 billion (€2.1 billion). The aid package is designed to help the strategic Arab state overcome an economic crisis and rare protests.

Protests in Jordan
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. al-Adayleh

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to provide a $2.5 billion (€2.1 billion) aid package to Jordan to help it weather an economic crisis and anti-austerity protests.

The economic package includes a deposit into Jordan's central bank, World Bank guarantees, annual support for Jordan's budget over five years and financing of development projects.

Read more: Jordan's middle class revolt

The announcement came after Saudi King Salman called a meeting in Mecca for Sunday bringing together Jordan's King Abdullah II, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

Mass protests

Jordan has been hit by mass protests in recent days over price hikes and a tax proposal designed to bring down the country's debt level after securing a $723 million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

The protests forced Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign on June 4. The new prime minister, Omar Razzaz, has promised to develop a new tax proposal.

Jordan's economic malaise has been exacerbated by regional crises, particularly in Iraq and Syria, which have hurt trade. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled to the kingdom since the start of the civil war there.

The strategic country is highly dependent on international aid, which at times has covered half of its budget deficit. The Gulf monarchies, the United States and European states are the biggest providers of aid.

Jordan: Protests continue despite resignation of prime minister

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) provided Jordan with $2.5 billion in 2011 to help contain pro-democracy protests that were spreading across the region. That five-year aid package expired last year and the GCC has failed to provide new funding as the bloc is divided due the Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Read more: What is the Qatar crisis?

Separately on Sunday, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, visited Jordan and announced €20 million for social protection programs for vulnerable Jordanians.

The EU has provided Jordan with €1 billion in aid over three years, Mogherini said.

cw/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)