Gulf considers economic aid for protest-hit Jordan: UAE

Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:25am EST
 
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DUBAI (Reuters) - Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to help Jordan's ailing economy after a government decision to cut fuel subsidies sent energy prices soaring and led to street protests.

The Western-backed kingdom has struggled to reduce its budget deficit and secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

It has also suffered gas disruptions from regular supplier Egypt following several sabotage attacks on a pipeline since last year's Egyptian uprising.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said on Monday Jordan was facing an economic deficit due to its dependence on importing heavy fuel.

"We, in the UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council, are studying ways to close or minimize this deficit," the state news agency WAM quoted Sheikh Abdullah as telling a news conference in Abu Dhabi with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Talks to come up with a solution to Jordan's funding gap could take some time, he said.

Instability in Jordan, a U.S. ally with the longest border with Israel, would come at a volatile time for a region in turmoil from Syria to Gaza.

Jordan has so far largely avoided the kind of unrest that has toppled four Arab heads of state over the past two years. But the decision to lift fuel subsidies caused scattered protests which turned violent in many places.

Security forces detained 130 demonstrators who could be charged with threatening the state for calling for the downfall of King Abdullah.   Continued...

 
United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Manama November 7, 2012. REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED