March 22 - President Barack Obama says the U.S. will provide an additional $200 million in humanitarian support to Jordan this year to help with Syrian refugees. Deborah Gembara reports.
President Obama's first day in Jordan was dominated by discussions about Syria. After a meeting with King Abdullah, the President had this to say. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "Today, I am announcing that my administration will work with Congress to provide Jordan with an additional 200 million dollars of budget support this year as it cares for Syrian refugees and Jordanian communities affected" Fighting in Syria has driven tens of thousands to seek refuge in Jordan. The burden for Amman, says King Abdullah is significant. SOUNDBITE: King Abdullah of Jordan saying: "The latest figures is that it's going to cost us roughly 550 million dollars a year, but if those figures double as we think they will by the end of the year, then obviously we're talking a billion plus. Not only is that a problem but it's going to be a tremendous strain on infrastructure and it's creating social problems and security problems." Despite this, Abdullah says Jordan will remain open to Syrians. SOUNDBITE: King Abdullah of Jordan saying: "Refugees will continue to come to Jordan and we will continue within our means to look after them as best as we can." While both Obama and Abdullah have called on President Bashar al Assad to step down, there are concerns in Amman about what a post-Assad Syria could like. Jordanian authorities fear that support for Islamist rule next door could embolden the key opposition group in their own country.