Canada to provide $98.4 million in aid to Jordan

A Syrian refugee carries his belongings at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
A Syrian refugee carries his belongings at Zaatari refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Canada has pledged an additional $98.4 million to Jordan to help the Arab country cope with the costly fallout from the worsening crisis next door in Syria, its foreign affairs minister said in a statement Monday.

The pledge followed a visit by John Baird, who held talks on Syria’s two-year civil war with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, late Sunday in the capital, Amman.

“Compassion for Syrians fleeing death and destruction cannot be Jordan’s undoing,” Baird said.

Jordan hosts more than half a million Syrian refugees. It has complained that growing numbers of refugees are straining its fragile economy and scarce resources.

Baird said the aid, to be dispersed over the next three years, will enhance security at Jordan’s sprawling refugee camps and help keep “terrorists at by.”

It will also help protect Jordanians against chemical and biological weapons attacks, he said.

Canada said this latest support will also help Jordan address its economic challenges, compounded by the political upheaval of the Arab Spring and the steady stream of Syrian refugees to the country.

The fresh funding builds on previous aid of $12.8 million that Canada provided Jordan to bolster its security and assist refugee transportation to camps, as well as $8.4 million to equip and train personnel to deal with chemical and biological weapons threats, according to the Canadian Embassy in Amman.

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