Australia offers Syrian aid during Jordanian king's visit

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) " Australia announced that it will provide an additional 220 million Australian dollars ($160 million) in humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis on Thursday during the Jordanian king's first visit to Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the new money over three years would be in addition to AU$213 million that Australia had already spent on Syrian aid since 2011.

King Abdullah II also thanked Australia for its pledge in September 2014 to resettle an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees, saying most would come from camps in Jordan.

The king said Australia was taking "a tremendous moral responsibility" and that Jordan had "done more than our fair share in shouldering the burden on behalf of the world."

The king said one in five of Jordan's population was a Syrian refugee and 2.5 million Syrian refugees had crossed Jordan's border.

"The refugee influx has strained our budget and infrastructure," the king told reporters.

Australia and Jordan on Wednesday signed a bilateral agreement to expand economic ties and to strengthen intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation.

"As key members of the counter-Daesh coalition, Jordan and Australia stand together in rejecting those who seek to impose their perverse world views on others through division and violence," Turnbull told reporters, referring to the Islamic State movement.

Australia was criticized for its slow start to keeping its promise of resettling 12,000 Syrian refugees as it conducted thorough background checks to weed out potential extremists.

The government said this month that 6,000 had so far been brought to Australia and another 3,000 have been granted visas, but had yet to relocate.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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