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French Version

Jordan could get $1 billion in US aid

Cabinet sources were quoted by the London-based Al Hayat daily, Tuesday, as saying the United States will increase its annual aid to Jordan by two folds to $1 billion.

The sources indicated the US had pledged generous support for Jordan, taking into account the devastating consequences the Jordanian economy may suffer if a war on Iraq is triggered.The US embassy in Amman did not comment on the news.

The sources affirmed the US aid is not conditional and has nothing to do with Jordanís stand about being opposed to the war. The sources, however, added the Kingdom expressed its readiness to help Iraqi refugees who are expected to flee their homes in the event of war.

Such news reports come at a time when Jordanian officials were expressing fears of the possibility of war and of the devastating problems it would have on the economy.

In November, the US administration asked Jordan to provide it with details about the economic losses the Kingdom may suffer if a war on Iraq does take place. The daily noted Jordan received assurances from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE to supply the Kingdom with its oil needs.

Iraq supplies Jordan with almost 6 million tons of oil annually, half are granted free-of-charge. Al Hayat said the three Gulf states would grant Jordan the same amount of oil supplies on the same preferential prices at $19 per barrel. Besides, Iraq is Jordanís main trading partner at more than $700 million annually.

Earlier in the week, Minister of Trade and Industry Salah Al Bashir reiterated the US support to Jordanís economy, despite the formerís decision to stop its annual grants of wheat to world countries. Al Bashir pointed American officials assured him weeks ago Jordan is one of the USís main trade partners since the two countries enjoy a free trade agreement signed in December 2001.


Amman,20January2003
info
The Star


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