Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait Offer $2.5 Billion In Aid To Crisis-Hit Jordan

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait Offer $2.5 Billion In Aid To Crisis-Hit Jordan

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have offered $2.5 billion in aid for Jordan to ease its economic crisis following a wave of anti-austerity protests, the Saudi state media announced early Monday.
Jordan has been rocked in recent days by mass protests against price rises and a proposed tax hike as the government pushes measures to slash the country’s debt, leading to the prime minister’s resignation.
A four-nation summit in the holy city of Mecca, hosted by Saudi King Salman, offered Amman a bailout in the form of a deposit in the Jordanian central bank, World Bank guarantees as well as budgetary support over five years.“In light of the close brotherly ties… it was agreed that the three countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait) would provide an economic aid package to Jordan totalling $2.5 billion,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.
The crucial summit was attended by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who offered his gratitude to the three countries, adding the package will “contribute to overcoming the crisis”, according to SPA.The announcement comes after European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Sunday announced 20 million euros ($23.5 million) in aid for Jordan.Cash-strapped Jordan, a close US ally that relies heavily on donors, is struggling to curb its debt after securing a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.Austerity measures tied to the IMF loan have seen prices of basic necessities rise across the kingdom — culminating in a week of angry protests over tax proposals that forced prime minister Hani Mulki to resign.The authorities on Thursday announced they were withdrawing the unpopular legislation, but still face a mammoth task to balance popular demands with the need to reduce the public debt burden.