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Saudi Crown Prince visits Jordan in thaw in ties

June 21, 2022 at 8:46 pm

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks to Jordan’s King Abdullah II (L) on 23 October 2018 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arrived on Tuesday in Jordan as ties thaw after years of frayed relations due to divergent views on regional conflicts and unfulfilled pledges of aid, officials said, Reuters reports.

The first such visit in years by the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia comes at a time, officials say, when Jordan’s economy is struggling with the economic knock-on effects of the Ukraine war.

“This is an opportunity for a new phase in Jordanian-Saudi ties and to continue a programme of economic projects and new investments,” a senior Jordanian official told Reuters.

Business leaders and officials hope it will unblock at least $3 billion of investment projects that Saudi Arabia committed to in recent years but which never materialised.

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Saudi Arabia, which once rescued Jordan with cash injections, had held off direct support, and officials said discussions would look at more ways to help Jordan’s economy, which has been battered by rising fuel prices and higher food imports. Jordan imports most of its energy needs.

Ties reached a low during former President Donald Trump’s term in office when staunch US ally, Jordan, felt that Riyadh’s strong ties with the previous American administration undermined Jordan’s pivotal role in Arab-Israel peace making.

Officials say Jordan’s economic strains have worsened with the end of Gulf grants and little extra funds by Western donors in the last few years to cope with sluggish growth and high unemployment.