Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Saudis host four-nation meeting over Jordan crisis

Saudis host four-nation meeting over Jordan crisis

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Jordan's King Abdullah, Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Ruler of Dubai, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum watch from the window of Al-Safa Palace in Makkah millions of Umrah pilgrims and visitors thronging the Grand Mosque on Sunday night.

Saudi Arabia says it will host a meeting among several Gulf Arab countries to offer support to Jordan after it faced mass protests over the kingdom's economic problems and its plans to tax its citizens.

The EU has provided Jordan with €1 billion in aid over three years, Mogherini said.

The rescue package comprises the bailout in the form of a deposit in the Jordanian Central Bank, World Bank guarantees, and budgetary support over five years.

Jordan, whose public debt almost equals economic output, has been hurt by the rise in global commodity prices.

Demonstrators wave Jordanian flags and hold up their lit mobile phones as they face Jordanian police officers during a protest near the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordan, on June 5, 2018. This year, regional contributions have largely dried up and the International Monetary Fund is pushing it to take austerity measures.

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Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pledged $2.5 billion of aid to Jordan on Monday, a joint statement from the Gulf states said, following austerity measures that have sparked massive protests in the country.

A statement early Saturday on the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the meeting would "discuss means of supporting Jordan to overcome its current crisis".

Jordan has been hit by mass protests in recent days over price hikes and a tax proposal created to bring down the country's debt level after securing a $723 million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

The announcement comes after European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Sunday announced 20 million euros ($23.5 million) in aid for Jordan.

An unpopular income tax law was also incensing the public until the government withdrew it in the face of the protests.

The World Bank says Jordan has "weak growth prospects" this year, while 18.5 percent of the working age population is unemployed.

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