U.S. Boosts Aid to Jordan

The US government has decided to give Jordan $1.275 billion annually until 2022 – an increase of $275 million per year on the current level of assistance it provides to the Kingdom, a key regional ally said.

“This is a recognition of the relationship between the U.S. and Jordan. It is a recognition of the significance of our gratitude for Jordan’s taking in so many refugees,” said Senator Lindsey Graham at a press conference last month, adding that congress is likely to do more in the coming years.

A statement posted on the US embassy’s website said this agreement “supports King Abdullah II’s political and economic reform agenda, while simultaneously mitigating the effects of regional crises, including the impact of Syrian and Iraqi refugees on Jordanian communities.”

The Memorandum of Understanding on the assistance package was signed in Amman last month by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. “For decades the United States and Jordan have sustained a truly indispensable strategic partnership that’s been critical to the security of both of our nations, as well as contributing to the security of the region. Today we recognize the importance of that partnership by signing this new five-year memorandum of understanding,” Tillerson said during a news conference held after the signing ceremony.

Regarding his government’s recent decision to cut funding to the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), which helps support some 2 million displaced Palestinians in Jordan, Tillerson said: “We need to put UNRWA on a more sustainable footing. It has never had a sustainable funding model. It has always operated in almost in a one crisis to the next kind of environment. We really need to find a longer-term solution and we need to invite more donors to participate in the funding of UNRWA’s activities. There are many countries that we believe should be supporting that are not supporting, and we’re going to be calling on them to do so.”