Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Jordan on Tuesday, rekindling ties that had been strained for years due to differing perspectives on regional crises and unfulfilled aid pledges, officials said.
The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia’s first visit in years comes as Jordan’s economy struggles with the economic fallout from the Ukraine conflict, according to officials.
“This is an opportunity for a new phase in Jordanian-Saudi ties and to continue a programme of economic projects and new investments,” a senior Jordanian official told Reuters.
Business leaders and officials hope it will unblock at least $3 billion of investment projects that Saudi Arabia committed to in recent years but which never materialized.
Saudi Arabia, which once rescued Jordan with cash injections, had held off direct support, and officials said discussions would look at more ways to help Jordan’s economy, which has been battered by rising fuel prices and higher food imports. Jordan imports most of its energy needs.
Ties reached a low during former President Donald Trump’s term in office when staunch U.S. ally Jordan felt that Riyadh’s strong ties with the previous American administration undermined Jordan’s pivotal role in Arab-Israel peace making.
Officials say Jordan’s economic strains have worsened with the end of Gulf grants and little extra funds by Western donors in the last few years to cope with sluggish growth and high unemployment.