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US aid to Jordan ‘ likely to exceed’ pledged $6.3 billion

Senators say they would also talk to IMF to ‘ease pressure’ on Kingdom

By JT - Feb 21,2018 - Last updated at Feb 21,2018

Senators Lindsey Graham (right) and Christopher Coons speak to reporters at a press conference in Amman on Tuesday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — A leading US lawmaker said on Tuesday that his country’s assistance to Jordan is likely to see additional funds beyond the $6.3 billion that Washington has pledged over five years. 

At a press conference in Amman, chairman of the Senate Committee dealing with foreign aid said that the recently signed memo under which the US grants Jordan $1.275 billion a year through 2022 “is a floor”, and that Congress is likely to authorise additional financial support for the Kingdom, the Associated Press reported. 

Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) was among seven senators visiting Jordan that met with His Majesty King Abdullah a day earlier.

Graham told reporters that he hopes everyone in the US “understands how important it is for this kingdom to survive”, according to the AP.

He said the senators would also talk to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “about taking some pressure off Jordan regarding economic austerity measures”.

The government has recently taken “unpopular” decisions that saw subsidies lifted and prices of commodities hike to raise local revenues, in compliance with commitments to IMF. 

Jordan has suffered an economic downturn and rising unemployment, raising fears of growing instability, in part because of fallout from conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, the agency said. 

Graham was joined at the press conference by Senator Christopher Coons (Democrat- Delaware). They said the Congress “highly values” the relationship with the Kingdom, which is a key ally in the region.

Senator Graham noted the aid shows “the strength of the relationship between the two countries”, stressing that the US is committed to strengthening the capacity of Jordan and its security.

Voicing appreciation for the Kingdom’s support for refugees, he said the US understands the consequences of the crisis on the economy and Jordanian society.

He added that the US was also keen on looking into ways to develop the private sector and help create jobs in Jordan.

Senator Coons, for his part, said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) “shows the US’ commitment to the welfare and security of Jordan”.

He confirmed that the MoU paves the way for more support to Jordan, adding that the US Congress will support increasing the volume of aid to the Kingdom.

The two senators stressed the key role Jordan plays in Middle East peace, security and the war on terror.

On the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the two lawmakers emphasised the US’ commitment to peace and stressed that the decision does not mark the end of the two-state solution.

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