Saudi Arab

‘Brotherly’ allies offer bailout to crisis-hit Jordan

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have offered a $2.5-billion bailout package to Jordan which has been rocked by protests amid an economic crisis.

The Saudi state media announced the package early Monday, a day after the four states met in the holy Saudi city of Mecca at Riyadh’s request to address Jordan’s economic woes,

“In light of the close brotherly ties… it was agreed that the three countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait) would provide an economic aid package to Jordan totaling $2.5 billion,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

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’s King Abdullah offered his gratitude to the three countries, adding the package will “contribute to overcoming the crisis,” according to the SPA.

The European Union has also announced 20 million euros ($23.5 million) in aid for Jordan.

Protests engulfed the cash-strapped country earlier this month after the government announced a fuel prices rise of up to 5.5 percent and a 19 percent hike in electricity prices.

The price of fuel has risen on five occasions since the beginning of the year. An unpopular income tax law was also incensing the public until the government withdrew it in the face of the protests.

The spikes are required by the International Monetary Fund, from which the country secured a $723-million loan in 2016.

The people have been calling for the “fall of the government,” and riots have spread throughout the country.

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