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Jordan, US to cooperate in upgrading border defence capabilities

By Agencies - May 14,2014 - Last updated at May 14,2014

AMMAN — HRH Prince Feisal, the Regent, on Wednesday met with US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and discussed bilateral cooperation, especially in military and defence areas. 

Hagel’s visit to Jordan is part of a regional tour that has already covered Saudi Arabia and he is expected to wrap it in Israel. 

During the meeting, which was attended by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben and delegates accompanying the defence secretary, Prince Feisal and Hagel discussed ways to boost the capabilities of the Jordan Armed Forces in securing the country’s borders. 

Discussions also focused on the latest regional developments and issues of joint concern. 

In Saudi Arabia, Hagel reassured Arabian Gulf allies Wednesday of US commitments to defend them amid tensions in the US-Saudi relationship, including differences over how to help moderate rebel forces remove President Bashar Assad from power in Syria, the Associated Press reported. 

Hagel’s visit - his third to Saudi Arabia in the past year - was designed to calm Gulf states that feel vulnerable to Iran’s influence and are frustrated at US policy on Syria, which has not yet included weapons or other lethal aid in the three-year civil war. Washington also wants to foster more effective, practical forms of defence cooperation on the Arabian Peninsula by integrating their air and missile defence systems.

Hagel addressed the Iran issue at the outset of a meeting of defence ministers from the Gulf states allied with Washington, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

He made only glancing mention of the Syria problem, which is viewed by the Saudis as a worrying sign of US hesitation to confront Iranian influences in the region. Hagel said Syria reflects a confluence of violent extremism, fragile states and humanitarian emergencies, the AP reported.

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