The EU on Tuesday announced more than 900 million euros in aid for Jordan after European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen met King Abdullah II for talks dominated by the Israel-Hamas war.
Von der Leyen thanked the Jordanian king for “his critical stabilizing role in the region,” amid fears that the conflict, which has left thousands dead, could spill over to other countries.
The two leaders did not hold a press conference after the meeting.
On social media however, von der Leyen said the talks included Israel’s military offensive against Gaza in response to the October 7 attacks by Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory.
Hamas fighters killed 1,400 people in the cross-border raids, according to Israel. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 10,300 people have been killed in Israel’s raids since.
Jordan is among countries in the region that fears a mass exodus from Gaza.
“I reiterated my position on no forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and the EU’s support for a two-state solution,” von der Leyen said.
A statement said “discussions focused on recent developments and the need to avoid a negative spill-over in the region, where Jordan plays a key stabilizing role.”
It said the EU support package was worth 902 million euros ($963 million) – 402 million euros in grants and 500 million euros in European Investment Bank loans.
Von der Leyen said the money was to bolster “Jordan’s reform process and modernization of its economy”.
The bulk of it was to go to improving water supplies in the parched kingdom, while other funding would go to youth education and tourism schemes, and improving energy efficiency.
The announcement came a day after the bloc said it was increasing humanitarian aid for Gaza by 25 million euros, bringing the total to 100 million euros.
Von der Leyen, who was criticized by some EU governments for an early response seen as biased toward Israel, on Monday laid out her commission’s stance on the developing conflict.
She reiterated the EU’s insistence on a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
But she also said that, once the fighting stops, Hamas should not control Gaza.
She said different ideas were being explored, including an international peace force under UN mandate.
Jordan, which neighbors Israel and the occupied West Bank, plays a key role getting aid to besieged Gazans. On Sunday it air-dropped vital medical supplies to a Gaza field hospital.
King Abdullah II said on Monday it was Jordan’s “duty to aid our brothers and sisters injured in the war on Gaza.”