Bush proposes major hike in Jordan aid

The Bush administration proposed increasing aid to Jordan by about 50 percent.

The memorandum of understanding signed Monday would increase assistance to $660 million a year over the next five years: $360 million in economic assistance and $300 million in military aid. Those amounts last year were $263 million and $200 million respectively, for a total of $463 million.

The proposal is non-binding and is seen as more of a guiding principal for the next administration, based in part on Jordan’s role in nurturing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, particularly through training of Palestinian security forces.

It was signed in New York by Condoleezza Rice, the United States secretary of state, and Salah al-Bashir, the Jordanian foreign minister, during the launch of the United Nations General Assembly.

The agreement “reinforces our commitment to work together on a range of important issues – including advancing security and stability in the region, and encouraging economic development and political reform,” a statement from the U.S. State Department said.