September 17, 2007 / 11:59 AM / 12 years ago

U.S. gives Jordan extra aid to increase security

AMMAN, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Washington on Monday gave Jordan, a staunch Middle East ally, an extra $78 million in mostly security aid to bolster the country’s defences, bringing total assistance this year to $532 million, officials said.

Planning Minister Suhair al-Ali told reporters after signing the agreement with U.S. ambassador David Hale the kingdom was lobbying to raise the amount of supplemental aid it received in recent years for its strong backing of U.S. policies in the region.

"As a government we continue to work with the U.S. to increase that percentage of cash assistance to the budget," al-Ali said.

The extra aid is beyond the annual economic and military aid package of $454 million that has been appropriated for the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30 2007.

Most of the supplemental aid is earmarked to boost border security and anti-terrorism training, officials said.

After the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Washington doubled its annual grants to Jordan to around $450 million - $250 million in economic aid and $200 million in military assistance.

Jordanian officials complain the kingdom gets less aid than other key regional allies, Egypt and Israel.

But U.S. officials say the aid programme to Jordan is among the largest in the world and the kingdom has received a total of over $7 billion, including $4 billion in economic aid and $3 billion in military help.

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