UAE grants Bahrain $2.5 billion for development - news agency

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February 19, 2013 1:28 AM EST

The United Arab Emirates will grant Bahrain $2.5 billion to help fund development projects in the Gulf Arab country, state-owned Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported on Monday.

The money, to be disbursed on an annual basis over the next 10 years, would finance projects in housing, electricity, water, infrastructure and social services, the BNA said.

In March 2011, after a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain and protests demanding jobs and clean government in Oman, wealthier Gulf Arab neighbours pledged $10 billion each to those countries over 10 years to ease tensions and support economic development of the two small non-OPEC oil exporters.

Bahrain, which depends on crude from a field it shares with Saudi Arabia for some 70 percent of its budget revenue, said last June that it had not received any of the pledged money so far, and it was unclear when the funds would start to flow.

Analysts have said Saudi Arabia, which supports Bahrain's Sunni rulers politically, could give the state more oil from the shared Abu Safa field if Manama's budget runs into trouble.

($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini dinars)

(Reporting by William Maclean, Amena Bakr and Martin Dokoupil; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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