Jordan-US $6 billion aid deal helps repair Jerusalem row

Amman:The signing on Wednesday of a major five-year US aid package for Jordan seemed nearly impossible two months ago.
The kingdom had joined most of the world at the UN General Assembly in opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite Washington's prior threats to cut financial aid to countries that planned to do so.
The $6.38 billion package signed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi is bigger, and will last longer, than previous agreements.
Dina Kawar, Jordan's ambassador to the US, who witnessed the signing, told. "In this time of difficulty, it's highly significant. More significant is that there were budget cuts in aid, but we weren't included in these cuts."
She added: "It includes leeway in how the money can be spent. This means we can plan ahead of time how to use this aid."
The amount listed in the memorandum of understanding is a 27 percent increase from the last deal, which was for three years. "More funds are likely to be made in the coming years," Kawar said.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is considering providing support for small and medium-sized businesses in Jordan through an Enterprise Fund.
The amount of the initial grant will vary from $30-50 million annually.
Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister and current vice president of studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Affairs, told that the most significant part of the agreement is its length.
With the political turmoil in the region and President Donald Trump's "America First" policy, locking in funding for five years is important, Muasher said.
The State Department said the agreement "highlights the pivotal role Jordan plays in helping foster and safeguard regional stability and supports US objectives such as the global campaign to defeat ISIS (Daesh), counter-terrorism cooperation, and economic development." Agencies
Source: Agencies



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