The aid cup flows over

24 May 1996

SYRIA has received more than $2,500 million in project aid during the past five years, mostly from the Gulf and Japan.

Following are the principal sources of the aid, and its uses:

Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development - Syria is the largest single recipient of loans from the Kuwait Fund, having received KD 248 million ($855 million) as of June 1995. Electricity accounts for 31 per cent of the total, with loans for five projects, followed by communications and transport (28 per cent - six loans) and industry (25 per cent - five loans). Loans from the Kuwait Fund approved since June 1995 include $70 million for a cement project, and $25 million for two substations near Damascus.

Japan - The Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund has provided two concessionary loans of just over $400 million each for the Jandar and Al-Zara power station projects.

Abu Dhabi Development Fund - The UAE agency has lent $90 million for a cotton yarn factory in Latakia, and is said to have pledged finance for the estimated $300 million project to build two more yarn mills, in Latakia and Jebla.

Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development - The Kuwait-based fund has provided some $270 million for power, wastewater and industrial projects.

Saudi Fund for Development - - The Saudi fund has confirmed $200 million in financing for the Aleppo power station project. It is expected eventually to meet most of the project's $530 million cost. The fund pledged $500 million for a steel project that has so far not materialised. Saudi Arabia is said to have provided substantial aid after the Kuwait crisis to enable Syria to buy new weapons from Russia Arab Petroleum Imvestments Corporation - The Saudi-based agency has provided finance for two gas development projects, worth about $250 million in total.

EU - The EU has provided grants totalling about $10 million for banking sector reform and a programme to upgrade the management of the electricity sector. However, European Investment Bank loans included in two financial protocols totalling $470 million have been frozen until Syria resolves the problem of debt arrears to EU member states.

US - The US aid programme was suspended in 1983, but US officials say President Asad has shown interest in reviving it as part of a regional peace settlement. Industry sources say the oil refinery modernisation programme could be an ideal candidate for a post-peace US aid effort.

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