AMMAN, Jordan – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says $100 million in additional funds will be spent over five years to help Jordan deal with an influx of Syrian refugees.
Another $5 million will be provided to help Jordan mitigate threats posed by Syrian weapons and materials of mass destruction.
Harper made the announcements soon after arriving in Jordan, where he plans to meet with the country’s prime minister, as well as King Abdullah.
With more than 576,000 Syrian refugees fleeing civil war in their country now in Jordan, they now comprise more than nine per cent of Jordan’s population. This is putting a severe strain on the kingdom’s resources and infrastructure.
The Canadian assistance is aimed at helping the economy and delivering basic services, such as education, both to Jordanians and to Syrian refugees.
“Jordan has responded to the plight of Syrian civilians with unwavering compassion and generosity by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees,” said Harper.
”Canada is proud to be able to help Jordan address the development and security challenges it is facing as a result of the Syrian conflict.”
Canada had earlier committed $110 million to help Jordan deal with the Syrian refugees in health, education and other needs.
The federal government had also set aside $47.7 million for security-related assistance to address the impact of the Syrian crisis.
All of this is on top of $203.5 million for international humanitarian assistance efforts in Syria and neighbouring countries since January 2012.
Harper also announced today that $4.7 million will be allocated to help child refugees from Syria receive basic education.
An estimated 35 per cent of the Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war country are school-aged children now jammed into Jordanian public schools.
Harper’s itinerary today also includes a visit to the Za’atri refugee camp, which is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled their country.
“Jordan continues to show compassion and generosity by receiving Syrian refugees fleeing the crisis in their country,” said Harper.
”The support announced today will help ensure that all children in Jordan, whether local or refugees, have access to a proper education.”
Harper’s two days in the Muslim kingdom follow a triumphant visit to Israel during which he was treated like royalty by Israeli officials and citizens alike for his unflinching support of the Jewish state.
Jordan and Israel have had official diplomatic relations since they signed a peace treaty in 1994. King Abdullah views Israel as a vital regional ally in the Middle East.
Harper began his first-ever visit to Jordan with a roundtable discussion that included a variety of business officials.
Harper, who was accompanied by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, made brief remarks about the importance of the Canadian-Jordanian relationship.
Others at the roundtable included Nayef Stetieh, the president of the Jordanian-Canadian Business Association and Royal Jordanian Airlines chairman H.E. Nasser Lozi.
Harper then had lunch with the king in an ornate room at the royal palace overlooking Amman.