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Obama announces economic aid to Jordan

President Obama began a series of events focused on the Middle East with an Oval Office meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah on Tuesday, during which he announced economic aid to the country.

Obama called Jordan an important U.S. partner in the region on the security and counterterrorism front. The aid is meant to help stabilize the cost of living in Jordan and was part of the administration's effort to support some of the economic reforms the king has embarked on, he explained.

"I'm pleased to announce that we have mobilized several hundreds of millions of dollars through OPEC and that will leverage ultimately about a billion dollars for economic development inside of Jordan," Obama said. "In addition, because of the huge spike in commodity prices throughout the world, we are going [to] be providing 50,000 metric tons of wheat to Jordan."

On Thursday, the president will deliver a speech on the Middle East and North Africa and U.S. policy in the region, and, on Friday, he is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Today's discussion also touched on the stalled peace Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the many changes sweeping through places like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the region.

"We both share the view that despite the many changes -- or perhaps because of the many changes -- that are taking place in the region it's more vital than ever that both Israelis and Palestinians find a way to get back to the table and begin negotiating a process whereby they can create two states that are living side by side in peace and security," Obama said.

Jordan, which has its own peace with Israel, has an enormous stake in an "equitable and solution to a problem that has been nagging the region" for many many years, the president said. He also expressed hope that the country would serve as a model of a prosperous modern and successful Arab state during this "remarkable time of transition" in the region.