Obama pledges $1bn in Jordan loan guarantees

Jordan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, collecting about $1bn annually for the past five years

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees for Middle East ally Jordan and the renewal of a five-year aid package.

The president made the announcement during his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah at a summit at a California retreat, Reuters news agency reported.

Jordan is one of the United States' closest allies in the Middle East and is a regional player in diplomatic efforts seeking peace in the turbulent region. It is also one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, collecting about $1 billion annually for the past five years, according to the Associated Press.

During his past week in Washington, the king met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, congressional leaders and others.

Jordan is one of two Arab countries, the other being Egypt, that has signed a peace treaty with Israel and King Abdullah has supported Kerry's efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in recent months.

The king is also anxious for a political solution in next-door Syria. His country has been overwhelmed by Syrian refugees crossing the border to flee the bloodshed.

(With Reuters and AP)

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