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Jordan ‘key strategic partner’— US official

By JT - Mar 07,2023 - Last updated at Mar 07,2023

Dana Stroul

AMMAN — The US is committed to its strategic partnership with Jordan, and the two countries have “very strong” relations built on decades of mutual commitment, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for the Middle East Dana Stroul stressed.

Describing US-Jordan relations as “a model for the rest of the region”, Stroul told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, in an interview published on Tuesday that the two nations would keep looking for additional ways to strengthen their close ties.

Stroul is travelling with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, who met with His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday.

She noted that President Joe Biden's commitment to Jordan is shared by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, adding that Secretary Austin made the trip to Jordan to consult King Abdullah as Jordan is a “key strategic partner”.

For the first leg of her trip to the Middle East, according to Stroul, Secretary Austin is visiting Jordan in order to reaffirm US commitment to the stability and security of the region at large and Jordan in particular.  Austin is also intending to discuss ways to strengthen regional security, given that Jordan has long been a “key leader” in these efforts.

The US official emphasised that Secretary Austin is aware that Jordan is in a “very dangerous” region characterised by numerous threats and reiterated that the Department of Defence is committed to helping Jordan secure regional security and stability.

She also underscored that Austin's visit is motivated by his belief that the path to Middle East stability will be achieved through multilateral security cooperation, emphasising the importance of the Jordan-US partnership.

Stroul expressed the Department of Defence's appreciation of His Majesty King Abdullah for his vision, courage and commitment to bringing world and regional leaders together to work towards a common goal.

According to Stroul, when it comes to bilateral military cooperation, the US Department of Defence is particularly proud of the partnership between the US Army and the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) and said that the Jordanian army is “very competent” and has made significant investments in modernisation. 

She stated that the seven-year Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Jordan, the longest one ever signed between the two nations, included a significant amount of military aid and is strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

According to Stroul, the memorandum was made because the US considers the JAF a crucial partner, particularly in the areas of maritime security, counterterrorism and regional security, emphasising the role that the Jordanian army plays in preserving the region's security.

She went on saying that the deal grants Jordan $400 million a year in security assistance, as well as economic aid and support for the refugees hosted by the Kingdom. The agreement also outlines areas of cooperation like border security and counterterrorism, Stroul said.

Additionally, the US official reaffirmed that the US is fully committed to Jordan, pointing out that the Kingdom plays a crucial role in the region's security, stability and economic prosperity — a role that Washington values very highly.  

Stroul also discussed one of the most significant roles that Jordan plays: its ability to bring world leaders together.  She cited a recent meeting held in Aqaba, which brought together officials from Jordan, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the US in order to defuse tensions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

She emphasised the need for channels of communication to catalyse cooperation "based on mutual understanding and trust and to reduce tension whenever it arises".

She noted that, at another Aqaba meeting, His Majesty the King convened not only the region's leaders but also world leaders to discuss the threat posed by the terrorist organisation "Daesh" across the Middle East and globally.

According to the American official, His Majesty is aware that strong and stable partnerships can contribute to the security of the world.

"Jordan is a very important partner, and the US wants to work with its partners in a coalition to coordinate technical, political and military assistance in order to achieve common goals," Stroul added.

She indicated that the US Department of Defence has a national defence strategy that outlines how to operate in the Middle East and calls for collaboration with allies and partners to cement regional security in light of terrorist threats, drone strikes and maritime attacks.

Stroul stated that the role of the US is to keep expanding opportunities for collaboration on security, in addition to responding to crises like the COVID pandemic, in order to improve the security and stability of the region.

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