U.S. threatens to stop financial aid to Jordan over nuclear dispute

U.S. threatens to stop financial aid to Jordan over nuclear dispute
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Published July 12th, 2010 - 14:38 GMT

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The United States is threatening to stop providing financial assistance to Jordan if the country continues developing its nuclear program without coordination with Israel.

Following six months of talks, Jordan continues to refuse Israeli demands to be included in the extraction of uranium and has failed to secure American approval for its nuclear reactor project. Last month, the government in Amman accused Israel of undermining its efforts to create a peaceful nuclear program. At the time, King Abdullah II effectively told Israel to "mind [its] own business."

In 2007, at least 65, 000 tons of uranium ore was found in the Jordanian desert, making it one of the largest deposits in the world. The nuclear reactor would allow the country to produce a large part of its own electricity and to export power to neighboring countries.

Jordan is dependent on American aid, and not having access to the funds will severely hurt its budget deficits. In the first half of the year, the U.S. has provided up to approximately $665 million to Jordan, $360 million in economic aid and $300 million in military assistance, said the Jordanian Minister of Planning Jaafar Abu Hassan. The increase in funding is meant to enable Jordan to address the economic and social challenges in the country, as well as to enhance national security. Washington had increased the financial aid package for a period of four years, but the memorandum was non-binding.

The ultimatum comes just days after U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Presenting a united front, both governments voiced hope for direct talks between Israel and Palestine in the near future. 

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