U.S. set to boost aid to Jordan despite Trump threats of cuts

Tillerson says Trump's Mideast peace plan 'fairly well advanced'

US inks major defense agreement with Jordan

But on Wednesday, his top diplomat gave Jordan more money. The latest agreement pledges $1.275 billion in U.S. aid to Jordan each year for five years - a 27 per cent increase from the last deal.

Jordan hosts nearly half of the roughly 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the region.

But it also appeared to show the value the administration places on Jordan regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though Jordan was among the 128 members of the United Nations that voted to condemn the United States two months ago over Trump's decision on Jerusalem, the contested holy city that Palestinians want part of as their future capital. But Trump and his US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have been pressing for aid cuts. "It is key to peace in the region".

Tillerson left the meeting with Aoun without making a statement, but he signed the visitors' guest book at the Baabda Presidential Palace, marking his first official visit to Lebanon.

The Trump administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding worth $6.375 billion in defense aid to Jordan, in a ceremony in Amman on Wednesday.

Reaffirming the strength of ties, Safadi said: "The US is a true friend and solid partner to Jordan".

The softer response may have partly resulted from the passage of several weeks' time, or the signing of the aid agreement.

"For decades the US and Jordan have sustained a truly indispensable strategic partnership that has been critical to the security of both of our nations".

Jerusalem is revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews, and is considered by Israelis to be their eternal capital.

On Wednesday, Tillerson was asked whether the U.S. decision on Jerusalem complicated his work and, in fact, made the pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace even more hard.

Tillerson was in Lebanon on a brief stopover amid a growing dispute between Lebanon and its southern neighbor, Israel, over oil and gas reserves, and Israel's construction of a border wall that Lebanon says encroaches on its territory.

Nonetheless, Trump is expected to unveil the peace plan fairly soon.

"We have differences as any countries may have from time to time, over tactics I think more than final objectives", Tillerson said.

The top USA diplomat said he had been consulting with President Donald Trump's team on the plan and elements "that we feel need further work".

But he said the plan and the timing for its release were in Trump's hands.

Tillerson said, according to Al Ray.

Israel is conspicuously not on the itinerary for Tillerson, who has been in the Middle East all week, including on Monday when the Trump administration announced its budget for fiscal year 2019, which proposed slashing the department's spending on global health initiatives by 30 percent.

"I understand President Abbas, his concern about certain steps and decisions taken by the United States", Tillerson said.

In addition to bilateral foreign assistance, since the start of the Syria crisis, the United States has provided almost $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to support Syrian refugees in Jordan (in addition to funding provided at the regional level for other refugee populations in the Kingdom).

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