In Mecca, Arab Gulf Nations Agree to Bail Out Jordan Amid Financial Crisis

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait pledged 2.5 billion dollars on Monday to help Jordan after austerity measures in the Hashemite kingdom led to mass protests

Protesters during a demonstration near the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018
Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait pledged 2.5 billion dollars on Monday to help Jordan, which is gripped by large anti-government protests against austerity measures.

Protests continued for eight days to denounce a draft income tax law, prompting King Abdullah to replace the prime minister and cancel an increase in fuel and electricity prices.

>> For the Jordanians, Taxes Were Only the Spark That Ignited the Protest | Analysis

Saudi King Salman hosted a meeting in the early hours of Monday in Mecca for the four countries to discuss ways to support Jordan.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Jordanian King Abdullah II, Saudi Royal Palace on June 11, 2018
YOUSEF ALLAN/AFP

The aid by the three Gulf countries will be divided into a deposit in Jordan's central bank, guarantees for the World Bank for the kingdom, support for Jordan's budget over five years and finance development projects.

The meeting in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca was attended by Salman, Abdullah, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Ruler of Dubai.

A statement by Saudi Arabia's official press agency quoted Abdullah as saying that "the aid package will help Jordan overcome the crisis."

Daily protests across the kingdom began on May 30 alongside a partial strike organized by unions, as Jordanians pressured the government to withdraw the tax bill.

Protests ended only a week later, when designated Prime Minister Omar Razzaz promised to withdraw the law and hold talks with union representatives before drafting a new one.

The bill was the latest in a series of austerity measures taken to reduce the budget deficit.