Saudi Arabia hosts four-nation meeting over Jordan crisis

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King Abdullah II of Jordan and his Crown Prince arrive in Jeddah ahead of Arab summit in Makkkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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King Abdullah II of Jordan and his Crown Prince arrive in Jeddah ahead of Arab summit in Makkkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum arrives in Saudi Arabia to participate in the Makkah Summit to support Jordan. (SPA)
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UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum arrives in Saudi Arabia to participate in the Makkah Summit to support Jordan. (SPA)
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Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad arrives in Jeddah to participate in the Makkah Summit to support Jordan. (SPA)
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Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad arrives in Jeddah to participate in the Makkah Summit to support Jordan. (SPA)
Updated 11 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia hosts four-nation meeting over Jordan crisis

RIYADH: Jordan's King Abdullah II arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for a crucial four-nation meeting focused on supporting Amman to tackle an economic crisis in the wake of anti-austerity protests.
He landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah ahead of his meeting later Sunday with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad arrived in Saudi Arabia shortly after to participate in the Makkah Summit.
Mass protests against price rises and a proposed tax hike have rocked Jordan in recent days as the government pushes austerity measures to slash the country's debt in the face of an economic crisis.
Saudi King Salman had called the rulers of the three other nations to set up the meeting in the holy city of Makkah, with speculation that an aid package could be announced.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Sunday announced Sunday 20 million euros ($23.5 million) in aid for Jordan.
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.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.