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‘Army preparing plan to deal with weapons of mass destruction’

By Khaled Neimat , Suzanna Goussous - Feb 08,2014 - Last updated at Feb 08,2014

AMMAN — The Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) on Saturday said it is developing a scheme to deal with weapons of mass destruction, especially chemical weapons.

Col. Mohammad Mawajdeh, the director of JAF’s crisis management division, did not elaborate on plans, but said that the army has conducted drills and workshops on dealing with such weapons in the northern and southern regions of the Kingdom.

Plans are under way to conduct similar activities in the central region, Mawajdeh said at the opening of a three-day workshop on “Crisis Management” on Saturday, with military and civil participants from various institutions.

Participants at the event, organised by the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), are expected to come up with recommendations that will guide the overall national plans to respond to any crisis in the country.

On the first day, participants at the workshop discussed the methods followed by military and security entities to manage crises, including natural and human-made disasters.

“The workshop seeks to inform and define the authorities responsible for the safety of citizens, and the role of these authorities in case of emergencies and crises,” Carlos Batallas, the ICRC’s deputy head of delegation in Jordan, said.

Education Minister and acting Interior Minister Mohammad Thneibat noted that “handling disasters is one of the vital areas” in public administration.

The Kingdom received 17 waves of migrations over the past few decades, Thneibat said, indicating that the country is still suffering from such circumstances and needs help in order to meet its obligations towards refugees.

Since 1936, Jordan has received refugees from Palestine, Lebanon Iraq, and Syria according to Thneibat.

Participants will discuss the refugee crisis in detail on Sunday, in addition to the roles of other security and civil institutions in handling any crisis situation.

Mawajdeh said the army receives Syrian refugees at what he described as “reception points”, which are under the full jurisdiction of the military.

Then, he said, the military coordinates its efforts with NGOs at the “gathering points” to provide the refugees with the needed help.

The last step is to escort the refugees to the camps where they deal with NGOs and civil organisations without any military interference, he noted.

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