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Obama boosts aid to Jordan amid fight against IS

AFP , Friday 5 Dec 2014
Obama with King Abdullah
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with King Abdullah of Jordan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, December 5, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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President Barack Obama pledged Friday a sizable increase in aid to Jordan, as he met with King Abdullah II to discuss tensions in Jerusalem and the fight against the Islamic State group.

Obama promised to increase US aid to Jordan from $660 million to more than $1 billion per year, and said the United States also would provide the kingdom with an additional loan guarantee.

The increased support, the US president said, aims to boost "political and economic reforms that are taking place inside of Jordan so that not only can the people of Jordan prosper and be self-sufficient, but they can continue to provide an anchor for important efforts that enhance US national security over the long term."

The aid is effective from 2015 to 2017.

One of America's most stalwart allies in the Middle East, Jordan borders Iraq's Anbar province, which has been largely overrun by Islamic State militants. It is one of several Arab countries taking part in US-led air strikes against the militant group in Syria.

King Abdullah expressed gratitude for the increased financial assistance, which comes at a "difficult" time for his nation as it grapples with its own Islamist extremists and faces a flood of 1.5 million refugees from war-torn Syria, who now make up a fifth of Jordan's population.

"This will have a tremendous impact on Jordanians at all levels. So from all of us, a very gracious thank you to you and your people for this very timely support for our country," Abdullah told Obama.

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