US boosts aid to Jor­dan de­spite Trump threats of cuts

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS -

AMMAN, Jor­dan (AP) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s rhetoric on pun­ish­ing coun­tries that don’t agree with U.S. pol­icy in the Mid­dle East col­lided with reality on Wed­nes­day as his ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced it would boost aid to Jor­dan by more than $1 bil­lion over the next five years.

De­spite Trump’s re­peated threats to cut as­sis­tance to such na­tions, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and Jor­dan’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man al-Safadi signed the in­creased aid pack­age, which rep­re­sents a 27-per­cent in­crease over cur­rent lev­els and is two years longer than the ex­ist­ing one ne­go­ti­ated by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Tiller­son called the pack­age “a sig­nal to the rest of the world that the U.S-Jor­dan part­ner­ship has never been stronger.”

Jor­dan is a crit­i­cal Amer­i­can part­ner in the volatile Mid­dle East but has op­posed the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­proach to the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict. Jor­dan voted in De­cem­ber to con­demn the U.S. for rec­og­niz­ing Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and crit­i­cized the U.S. last month for with­hold­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing for Pales­tinian refugees, many of whom live in the coun­try.

None­the­less, Wed­nes­day’s me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing will pro­vide Jor­dan with $1.275 bil­lion in U.S. aid an­nu­ally un­til 2022. That’s $275 mil­lion more per year than the cur­rent level. The an­nual amount in­cludes $750 mil­lion in eco­nomic aid that will sup­port Jor­da­nian re­form ef­forts and $350 mil­lion in mil­i­tary as­sis­tance.

Both Tiller­son and al-Safadi ac­knowl­edged the dis­agree­ments but said the end goal of both coun­tries re­mains the same.

“We have dif­fer­ent views on Jerusalem but we share a com­mit­ment to peace,” al-Safadi said.

“We have dif­fer­ences as any coun­tries may have from time to time, over tac­tics I think more than fi­nal ob­jec­tives,” Tiller­son said. “I think our fi­nal ob­jec­tives are quite clear and are shared and those are un­changed. We may take dif­fer­ent ap­proaches but we con­sult and we know that what we’re try­ing to achieve at the end is still the same.”

Jor­dan, a long­time part­ner of the U.S and one of only two Arab na­tions to have full diplo­matic re­la­tions with Is­rael, plays an in­stru­men­tal role in the re­gion and in Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace ef­forts. Jor­da­nian of­fi­cials were dis­turbed by Trump’s Jerusalem an­nounce­ment and said it could hurt ef­forts to forge a two-state so­lu­tion to the con­flict.

Al-Safadi said Jor­dan sees no al­ter­na­tive to a two-state so­lu­tion and that his coun­try looks for­ward to a peace pro­posal that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been pre­par­ing for re­lease in the com­ing months.

Tiller­son said the pro­posal is “fairly well ad­vanced” but would not com­ment on when the ad­min­is­tra­tion might put it for­ward.

Wed­nes­day’s aid an­nounce­ment rep­re­sents some­thing of a victory for Tiller­son and De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis, both of whom ar­gued against the Jerusalem de­ci­sion and had lob­bied to con­tinue as­sis­tance to Jor­dan on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds. Trump and the U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley, have both spo­ken in fa­vor of cut­ting aid to na­tions that don’t back the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s po­si­tions.

In this Mon­day photo, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, speaks in Cairo, Egypt. De­spite re­peated threats to pun­ish coun­tries that don’t agree with U.S. Mideast pol­icy, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is set to boost aid to Jor­dan by more than a bil­lion dol­lars over the next five years. KHALED ELFIQI/POOL PHOTO VIA AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.