Canada announces aid to help Jordan with Syria refugees

AFP , Thursday 23 Jan 2014

Canada said on Thursday that it will provide around Can$100 million ($90 million, 65 million euros) to help Jordan cope with an influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

The pledge came as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper held talks in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah II about the Syrian conflict and its impact on the kingdom.

Jordan is home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees -- around nine percent of the population -- and Abdullah discussed the "burden shouldered... in hosting a large number of Syrian refugees" with the Canadian premier, a statement from the palace said.

On Thursday, Harper "announced up to Can$105 million to assist Jordan with development and security challenges due to the Syrian conflict, and the resulting influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees," his office said on its website.

Harper said Canada would provide Can$100 million over five years to boost economic development and deliver basic services, such as education, to Jordanians and Syrian refugees.

"The remaining Can$5 million, which will be delivered over the next five years, will support Jordan's work to mitigate the threat posed by Syrian weapons and materials of mass destruction, through the provision of critical equipment, infrastructure, technology and training," his website said.

Jordan's army said it foiled an attempt to smuggle large quantities of weapons, explosives and drugs into the country from Syria on Wednesday.

Last month, Amman said arms smuggling across the border with Syria had risen by 300 percent and that security forces had prevented hundreds of trafficking attempts.

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