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Obama signs law to increase military support to Jordan

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 21,2016 - Last updated at Feb 22,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah greets US Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of their meeting in Aqaba, on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — The US has finalised a law that will allow the administration to increase military support to Jordan to $450 million this year, officials announced Sunday.

Later in the day, His Majesty King Abdullah met in Aqaba with US Secretary of State John Kerry and stressed the importance for the international community, especially the US, to exert more efforts in the Palestinian issue. 

The King urged the international community to end the stalemate in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians until reaching progress according to the two-state solution and relevant international legitimacy resolutions, a Royal Court statement said.

The meeting also addressed regional and international efforts in the war against terror groups in line with a comprehensive approach.

His Majesty and Kerry reviewed the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and stressed the significance of building on the outcomes of the recent Munich security summit, especially those related to working on supporting endeavours to reach a truce in Syria, the statement added.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh attended the meeting.

 

Defence assistance

 

Judeh announced at a press conference with Kerry earlier in Amman that a US-Jordan defence support law has been signed by US President Barack Obama to enhance the Kingdom’s military capacity.

Commenting on this law, Kerry said Jordan will receive $450 million in foreign military financing this year, making it the third-largest recipient of such aid worldwide. “That support will continue,” he stressed.

In 2015, the US provided Jordan with $385 million in foreign military financing support to Jordan, which is an $85 million increase over 2014, defence reports said.

The law, according to a version available online on US government websites, stipulates that the US will help the Kingdom in its response to the Syrian refugee crisis; to provide necessary assistance to alleviate the domestic burden to provide basic needs for the assimilated Syrian refugees; to cooperate with Jordan to combat the terrorist threat of Daesh or other terrorist organisations; and to help secure the border between Jordan and its neighbours Syria and Iraq. 

Kerry noted that this year Congress approved an unprecedented $1.2 billion in assistance to support the partnership with Jordan together with additional counterterrorism support funds, according to Kerry, who noted that the Kingdom will receive $1.6 billion in assistance to enhance border security, create economic wealth and create jobs for Jordanian people. 

The minister also spoke about international efforts to fight Daesh and Jordan’s role in this regard.

“Today the [international] coalition has launched 10,000 air strikes; we are providing increased amounts of equipment and training to our local partners in Iraq and Syria,” Kerry said, adding that Jordan is a global leader in combating terror.

 

Royal Jordanian airforce pilots regularly “fly missions as part of operations and His Majesty King Abdullah has called on the international community to disrupt Daesh’s recruiting and “we are doing exactly that, and the coalition is planning further action even as we speak”.

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