Merkel pledges $100 million loan for troubled Jordanian economy

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel reviews an honour guard upon her arrival at the Jordanian Royal Palace in Amman on June 21, 2018. (AFP)
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erman Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with German soldiers stationed in Jordan, June 21, 2018. (Reuters)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Jordan's King Abdullah II pose as they shake hands after a press conference at the Royal Palace in the Jordanian capital Amman on June 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Merkel pledges $100 million loan for troubled Jordanian economy

  • Merkel visited Jordan amid an escalating domestic row over migration
  • The chancellor said Germany will provide the $100 million loan in addition to bilateral aid which amounts to about 384 million euros ($442 million) this year.

AMMAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a $100 million loan to troubled Jordan, where mass protests over austerity measures forced the prime minister to resign earlier this month.
Merkel visited the kingdom amid an escalating domestic row over migration. Standing next to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, she made no reference to the crisis that’s straining her ruling coalition.
The chancellor said Germany will provide the $100 million loan in addition to bilateral aid which amounts to about 384 million euros ($442 million) this year. She said she hopes the additional funds will help Jordan carry out economic reforms sought by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF is seeking such reforms to lower Jordan’s public debt-to-GDP ratio, which has risen to about 96 percent, in part because of the continued economic fallout from Syria’s civil war and other regional crises.
“We are aware of the challenges you face, both in the realm of security and in civil society development,” Merkel said, adding that she wished the government success in implementing “needed reforms.”
“The IMF, and it’s known for this, often has very ambitious ideas about reforms, and implementing them is anything but simple,” she said.
Merkel is meanwhile facing a serious crisis in her coalition.
Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party demands that some migrants should be turned back at Germany’s borders, and has given her two weeks to reach agreement with European partners. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the CSU’s leader, is threatening to go ahead unilaterally with his plans if she doesn’t — potentially threatening the governing coalition.
Leaders from a group of European Union countries, led by Germany and France, will meet Sunday to thrash out possible solutions.


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.