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Jordan’s potential role in anti-ISIL alliance to be discussed at NATO meeting — envoy

By Raed Omari - Sep 02,2014 - Last updated at Sep 02,2014

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah's participation in the upcoming NATO summit will be of “immeasurable illumination” on how to face the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), British Ambassador to Jordan Peter Millett said on Tuesday. 

Briefing journalists on the agenda of the summit, which will be held from September 4-5 in Newport, Wales, Millett said that the third big issue to be discussed during the periodic meeting, after Ukraine and Afghanistan, is the developments in Iraq and Syria, and the threat ISIL poses to the region's security and stability.

Participants in the summit, Millett said, will look at ISIL in terms of the threat it poses first to the security of the member states of the alliance and also to the countries of the region, particularly Jordan.

"The King's participation is of prime importance because there will be a lot of discussions, ideas and proposals on the role that NATO can play in confronting ISIL's threat. How can we cooperate and coordinate, and work with Jordan to achieve the security of Jordan and the region and NATO's allies," Millett said.

The ambassador explained that the rise of ISIL and the spread of its radical ideology has turned into a worrying matter in the West, adding that “the big debate in the UK at the moment is about the British jihadists returning home one day”.

Millett also said that Jordan has been a strategic partner to NATO since 1994, adding that the Kingdom’s stability and security is a top priority to all the 28 members of the alliance. 

On the nature of Jordan’s role in any NATO action against ISIL, the ambassador only cited the important role of the Kingdom in assisting the alliance’s military and humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and Libya.   

Millett also explained that NATO has constantly adapted to new issues and new threats. In the 1960s-1970s it was all about the cold war and the rivalry between the Western world and the Warsaw Pact, he said, adding that after the 9/11, NATO sent forces to Afghanistan, where Jordan, as a partner, played an important role. NATO played a role in Libya, with the cooperation and assistance of Jordan, he added.

“NATO has constantly been adapting and changing, and the alliance now needs to adapt to the danger we are all facing from extremists and terrorists in Syria and Iraq.”

Millett said that the situation in Ukraine and NATO forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan will be the major topics to be discussed in the two-day summit, which takes place every two years, bringing together all the 28 alliance members as well as a wide range of partners.

The alliance’s course of action with regard to Russia’s “illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea” is to be touched upon during the summit, the ambassador said. “The second big issue is to do with Afghanistan. NATO forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The question is what that means to the alliance politically and militarily.”

On the expected outcomes of the summit, Millett gave no further comments, only saying that there would be a communiqué which will mention Jordan.

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