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We have no other choice — Ensour


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Thursday stressed that two-thirds of the Jordanian people will not be affected by the decision to liberalise fuel prices.
In remarks to Al Arabiyah satellite channel, carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Ensour added: “This step was taken by brotherly countries including Egypt and Tunisia, which are ruled by Islamists, in addition to Morocco, Greece and Spain.”
“We will maintain the exchange rate of the dinar and restore balance to the budget,” he stressed.
He noted that the cut in Egypt’s gas supplies cost the Treasury around $3 billion; therefore, it was a “must” to sell fuel at cost.
In an answer to a question on how to raise prices with the country on the verge of holding parliamentary elections, Ensour said: “We have no other choice,” stressing that if the country’s economic condition worsen, the Treasury will deteriorate more.
He noted that the compensation to be given to low- and medium-income households will cover all their financial burdens, noting that all state employees, military servicemen and civil and military retirees will receive the government’s support in cash.
Ensour pointed out that a specialised ministerial team held meetings with all parties, associations, municipalities, chambers of commerce and industry and tens of journalists and writers and briefed them on the economic conditions and the need to deal with the imbalances in the country’s economic sector.
“A party that we respect took the wrong decision to boycott the elections,” the premier said, in reference to the Islamic Action Front, adding: “How can they call for democracy using undemocratic methods? How should they want to assume power without passing through the Lower House of Parliament?”
“The demonstrations are not about fuel; the issue is completely different,” he said.
“The protests only seek to make the upcoming parliamentary elections a failure,” Ensour argued.
“I sat with leaders from the Islamist movement and listened to them and they listened to me, and I thought I delivered the message on the situation of the country,” the premier added, noting that Jordan is a free country, and they have the right to demand what they want.
Ensour stressed that he does not condemn protests, but denounced any acts of vandalism.
“At this stage I cannot accuse anyone, but I think there are parties with agendas that want to follow the example of what happened in other countries,” the premier said.
“How can the Muslim Brotherhood criticise the Jordanian government for bringing back its ambassador to Israel and not criticise the Egyptian government for doing so?” he asked.
For 22 months and until now, the number of protests reached 6,600 and not “one single drop of blood was shed”, Ensour said, noting that Jordan is a country ruled by law and order.
He pointed out that there are no political prisoners in Jordanian jails, and that since 1920 not one person was executed for political reasons. 

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