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Jordan reinforces defences at northern, eastern borders

By Khetam Malkawi , AFP - Jul 09,2015 - Last updated at Jul 09,2015

AMMAN — Security measures have been intensified at the country’s northern border with Syria and eastern border with Iraq, and more troops have been sent Tuesday night to these sites.

Official sources told The Jordan Times that these “enforcements” are part of the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF)-Arab Army’s continuous efforts to keep a full control over the Kingdom’s borders and “prevent any potential attack”.

However, an official source declined to elaborate on the issue, but said that “it is a message to all Jordanians that this country is able to maintain its safety and security”.

In a previous statement to the media, Mohammad Momani, the government’s spokesperson said the Kingdom seeks to have “security” in the neighbourhood to ensure the country’s borders are fully controlled by JAF-Arab Army and make sure refugees return to their home after security prevails. Jordan currently hosts around 1.5 million Syrians who have fled the almost five-year-conflict in their country.

In a related development, US lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would ramp up military cooperation with Jordan, including accelerated arms sales to a “Middle East ally contending with growing threats from Islamist extremism”, Agence France-Press (AFP) reported.

The House of Representatives passed the bill by voice vote and it now heads to the Senate for consideration, the agency said, adding that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said the measure sends a “strong message of support” to a critical partner at a vital time.

“Jordan sits on the front lines of the fight against ISIS [Daesh] and a refugee crisis in Syria where millions have been displaced,” Royce said. “As a longtime key partner for peace and security in the region, it is important the US support Jordan as it confronts these security challenges,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

House Speaker John Boehner, who visited Jordan in March, added that the legislation would “strengthen our ties with King Abdullah, a good friend and solid partner in the region”.

The measure adds Jordan, for a period of three years, to a list of countries that benefit from “expeditious consideration” of contracts for US arms exports, benefits currently provided to members of the NATO alliance along with Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

 

In February, Washington announced its intention to increase overall US assistance to Jordan from $660 million to $1 billion annually for the 2015-2017 period.

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