Stephen Harper pledges $105M in development aid for Jordan

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces $105 million in development assistance on his first-ever trip to Jordan, which is dealing with challenges arising from the Syrian crisis.

Canadian PM meets with King Abdullah II, announces funding on Day 5 of Middle East tour

Jordan King Abdullah II, left, shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, at the royal palace in Amman on Thursday. Harper pledged $105 million in development assistance for Jordan. (The Associated Press)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Jordan's King Abdullah II today, the fifth day of his Middle East tour, and announced additional funding and support to the Muslim kingdom to help it deal with challenges arising from the Syrian crisis.

The money will be used to deal with an influx of refugees, and respond to threats posed by Syrian weapons. 

Canada will provide up to $105 million to Jordan over the next five years. Of that, $100 million will be earmarked for economic development and basic services such as delivering better education to Jordanians and Syrian refugees.

The remaining $5 million will be for critical equipment, infrastructure, technology and training to combat the threat of Syrian weapons. 

Harper also met with Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour while in Amman. 

Harper was then scheduled to visit the Za'atri refugee camp, which is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war in their country. 

There are close to 600,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan, representing nine per cent of the overall population. However, the CBC's Derek Stoffel says the number could be much larger as many Syrians seeking shelter are unregistered.

More than two million Syrians have fled the war-torn country and are living as registered refugees in neighbouring countries since the uprising began three years ago.

Earlier, Harper had round-table discussion involving a variety of officials and business leaders from Jordan, including Nayef Stetieh, president of the Jordanian-Canadian Business Association, and Royal Jordanian Airlines chairman H.E. Nasser Lozi.

Harper, who was accompanied by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, made brief remarks in Amman during the discussion about the importance of the Canadian-Jordanian relationship.

Harper's two days in Jordan follow a triumphant visit to Israel during which he was treated like royalty by Israeli officials and citizens alike.

Jordan and Israel have had official diplomatic relations since they signed a peace treaty in 1994. King Abdullah views Israel as a vital regional ally in the Middle East.

With files from The Canadian Press


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