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Jordan’s ancient city of Petra to round off U.S. president’s Mideast trip

Published: Updated:

After the first foreign trip of his second presidency term, U.S. President Barack Obama will conclude his four-day Middle East trip by making a final stop at Jordan’s renowned ancient city of Petra.

Obama is expected to fly to Petra by helicopter from Jordan’s capital city of Amman. A sudden sandstorm in the region scrambled some of Obama’s travel plans Friday, leading the president to cautiously state that his trip to Petra was “weather permitting.”

During Obama’s 24-hour visit to Jordan, Obama announced in Amman on Friday an aid package of $200 million for Jordan to help the kingdom cope with the influx of refugees fleeing the deadly violence in Syria.

Obama told a joint news conference with King Abdullah II that he would ask the U.S. Congress to provide the funds as “budget support” to aid Jordan in providing for the refugees, who the monarch said now numbered more than 460,000.

The United States is already the largest single donor of humanitarian aid for the Syrian people.

The bulk of Obama’s time was spent in Israel, where he sought to reassure an anxious public that he is committed to their security. He also made a brief stop in the West Bank city of Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian leaders where more than 15,000 officers were deployed to ensure security following Tuesday’s fuming protests.