Gulf states to meet to discuss Jordan economic crisis

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan will meet Sunday to discuss support measures
Austerity measures tied to the loan have seen prices of basic necessities rise across the kingdom - culminating in a week of angry protests over tax proposals that forced prime minister Hani Mulki to resign. (KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
By AFP
Sat 09 Jun 2018 01:39 PM

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan will meet Sunday to discuss ways to support Amman as it looks to tackle an economic crisis in the wake of protests.

Riyadh said in statement Saturday that King Salman called the rulers of the three other nations to set up a meeting in Mecca after demonstrations rocked Jordan over a proposed tax hike.

"They agreed to hold a meeting comprising the four countries...to discuss means of supporting Jordan to overcome its current crisis," the statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Cash-strapped Jordan, a close US ally that relies heavily on donors, is struggling to curb its debt after securing a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

Austerity measures tied to the loan have seen prices of basic necessities rise across the kingdom - culminating in a week of angry protests over tax proposals that forced prime minister Hani Mulki to resign.

The authorities on Thursday announced they were withdrawing the unpopular legislation, but still face a mammoth task to balance popular demands with the need to reduce the public debt burden.

Jordan blames its economic woes on instability rocking the region and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from war-torn Syria, complaining it has not received enough international support.

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

Saudi Arabia and the United States are two of the major donors providing vital economic assistance to Jordan.

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Last Updated: Sat 09 Jun 2018 01:44 PM GST

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