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Jordan seeks additional assistance from US as challenges persist

Fakhoury holds meetings with US officials, donors in Washington

By JT - Oct 18,2017 - Last updated at Oct 18,2017

AMMAN — Jordan has asked for more US assistance next year as the two countries plan to negotiate and endorse a three-year assistance plan for the years 2018-2020.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, who has concluded a visit to the US in which he met with senior officials in the administration and the US Congress to renew the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries, which governs economic and military assistance to Jordan, and discussed US aid to the Kingdom for 2018.

The two sides are expected to sign the new MoU in the first quarter of next year, the official announced, as quoted in a ministry statement. 

Fakhoury said that he discussed the issue during meetings with senior officials of the US administration (the White House, the State Department and the Ministry of Finance), senior officials of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the US Congress, as well as the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The aid agency is carrying out development projects in the Kingdom worth about $1.2 billion, the largest worldwide.

In this regard, Fakhoury stressed the importance of increasing the level of aid to Jordan for the coming period compared to the current sum stipulated in the memorandum of understanding, which ends this year and includes an annual aid ceiling of $1 billion for the period 2015-2017, in light of the “pivotal role of Jordan, the immense challenges facing the Kingdom and the burdens shouldered by the state”. 

He cited the regional instability in the region, and the need to support Jordan’s reform and development plans for the next five years, especially the National Programme for Economic and Financial Reform, a component of the Jordan 2025 blueprint designed to stimulate economic growth in the period 2018-2022. 

The minister said that Jordan received an additional $275 million in US aid in 2016, exceeding the $1 billion ceiling set in the memorandum of understanding, while Washington has pledged an additional $279 million for 2017, and the agreement will be officially signed within the coming weeks.

The talks with US officials came as Fakhoury took part in the joint meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. On the sidelines of the event, the minister partook in a donors meeting to discuss progress in the Global Concessional Financing Facility, which was launched in 2016 to support refugee hosting countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. 

The ministry statement said that Denmark, Norway and Canada pledged during the meeting additional $80 million to both countries.

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