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Expected NATO office in Amman to elevate Jordan-Alliance ties to new heights — official

By JT - Oct 04,2023 - Last updated at Oct 05,2023

Javier Colomina, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy at NATO, during an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Javier Colomina, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), on Wednesday highlighted the “solid and close” relations between NATO and Jordan.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion in Amman, as part of his official visit to the Kingdom, which included official talks at various civilian and military levels, Colomina said: "Jordan is one of NATO most valuable partners, a long-term partner in the Mediterranean Dialogue”, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Jordan is an integral part of the dialogue and an important partner for NATO within the dialogue, he added, noting that next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Mediterranean Dialogue and expressed optimism that the opening of a NATO office in Jordan will further strengthen bilateral relations.

Highlighting the “tangible” cooperation between NATO and the Kingdom, the official cited the signing of the first defence capabilities package with Jordan in 2014, followed by updates in 2017 and 2021.

Colomina underlined NATO's commitment to partnerships and its dedication to training, education, transparency and good governance.

Regarding military cooperation, Colomina noted that Jordanian armed forces have been an active participant in regional exercises conducted within the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue in 2017.

On political relations, Colomina highlighted the “strong” dialogue between NATO and Jordan, noting the frequent meetings between His Majesty King Abdullah and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, among other bilateral meetings.

“This is my first official visit of its kind to Jordan,” he said, noting that his tour followed a similar visit by Admiral Rob Bauer, head of NATO's Military Committee, to Jordan last week.

He reiterated NATO's contentment with its cooperation with Jordan and its commitment to exploring ways of further cooperation.

Colomina praised Jordan's balanced foreign policy under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, which addresses a wide range of security challenges beyond the Middle East Peace process.

He also referred to the cooperation between NATO and Jordan in addressing challenges related to security, terrorism and war, which are among the primary threats identified by the Alliance. 

Colomina stressed that the Alliance is working with Jordan in a number of areas, including training and education through mobile training teams and a train-the-trainer programme. 

"We are learning from the Jordanian armed forces as they have extensive experience and are one of the best-equipped forces in counter-terrorism," he said.

He also highlighted efforts to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as the tour included his participation in the NATO - Jordan Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons held in Amman in cooperation with the Jordanian Armed Forces-Arab Army. 

This conference, the first of its kind, is “an important political message”, he said.

The NATO official discussed joint work to enhance capabilities in the areas of the Internet, cyber security and counter-terrorism, in addition to focusing on the management of terrorism-related crises linked to the recent defence capacity-building package.

He reiterated that NATO is constantly looking for ways to enhance cooperation with its most valuable partners, stressing that the partnership with Jordan has reached a point where more personnel are needed on the ground to follow up increased cooperation.

He explained that at the most recent summit, held in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius last July, the Alliance decided to explore the possibility of opening an office in Amman.

The Alliance seeks a comprehensive approach combining political monitoring of the relationship, military cooperation and practical work. The office will provide a political vision and take the relations to a new level, he said.

He added that the Alliance's office in Jordan will contribute to what NATO calls "deep thinking" about the challenges and threats in the south, by listening to partners and engaging with various entities in the region. This will lead to a number of decisions that will be endorsed at NATO's next summit in the US capital, Washington, next year.

Stressing  that discussions on opening a NATO office in Amman are underway, he noted that progress is being made "in the right direction", and the decision has not yet been finalised, but he expected the decision to be taken soon.

Colomina noted that NATO recognises Jordan as an active player in the regional peace process, emphasising that the NATO office in Amman will not have a role in this context because the Alliance "does not have an official position on it".

The office will focus primarily on monitoring NATO-Jordan relations and providing insight into regional challenges and threats, he said.

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