President Obama said Friday he would work with Congress to provide Jordan an additional $200 million in aid this year, as the country struggles to cope with nearly half a million refugees who have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria.
At a press conference with King Abdullah II in Amman, Obama pledged to continue supporting Jordan and efforts to broker peace in Syria.
“The Jordanian people have displayed enormous generosity, but the strains of so many refugees inevitably are showing … the international community needs to step up to make sure they help shoulder this burden,” Obama said.
Abdullah noted the influx of refugees represented the equivalent of 10 percent of Jordan’s population, and that the sprawling refugee camp across the Syrian border was now the fifth largest city in the country.
He also predicted the number of refugees could double within the year, at a cost of $1.1 billion — a serious imposition on a country that economists say could have an unemployment rate of almost 30 percent. Nevertheless, Abdullah pledged to continue accepting refugees.