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.


US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

Updated 16 min 24 sec ago
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US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

  • The money is for anyone who provides intelligence that allows the US to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways

WASHINGTON: The US on Monday offered a $10 million reward for information that would disrupt the finances of Lebanon’s Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.
The State Department said it would give the money to anyone who provides intelligence that allows the US to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways.
The areas include information on Hezbollah’s donors, on financial institutions that assist its transactions and on businesses controlled by the movement.
President Donald Trump’s administration has put a top priority on reducing the influence of Iran, the primary backer of Hezbollah.
The State Department listed three alleged Hezbollah financiers as examples of activities it was seeking to stop, with one, Ali Youssef Charara, allegedly funding the group by investing millions of dollars from Hezbollah in the telecommunications industry in West Africa.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pointed to a recent appeal by Hezbollah for donations as a sign of US success in curbing Iran.
On a visit last month to Beirut, Pompeo urged Lebanon to counter the “dark ambitions” of Iran and Hezbollah but was rebuffed by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who said Hezbollah was not a terrorist group and enjoyed a wide base.
The United States has vowed for decades to fight Shiite militants in Lebanon, with memories still bitter over the 1983 attack on a military barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.
Hezbollah, however, also functions as a political party, with posts in the current cabinet, and enjoys support among some Lebanese who recall its guerrilla campaign that led Israel to withdraw from the country in 2000.