US inks ma­jor de­fense agree­ment with Jor­dan

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By MICHAEL WIL­NER Jerusalem Post Cor­re­spon­dent

WASH­ING­TON – The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has signed a Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing worth $6.375 bil­lion in de­fense aid to Jor­dan, in a cer­e­mony in Am­man on Wed­nes­day.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tillerson and Jor­da­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man Safadi signed the doc­u­ment, which con­tin­ues on an ex­pir­ing Amer­i­can pledge of aid from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Tillerson, who has toured the re­gion this week dis­cussing the US-led coali­tion fight against Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria, said that Jor­dan has proven it­self once again a pil­lar of sta­bil­ity in the world’s most volatile re­gion.

“The ad­di­tional funds and years will sup­port Jor­dan’s im­por­tant role in ad­dress­ing re­gional con­flict and in­sta­bil­ity, in­clud­ing the im­pact that the cri­sis in Syria has had on Jor­dan,” Tillerson said.

It will also help King Ab­dul­lah pur­sue his do­mes­tic eco­nomic agenda, in or­der to reach the “self-re­liance” that Jor­dan seeks, Tillerson added.

The US pro­vides Jor­dan with more as­sis­tance than any other na­tion. This agree­ment pledges $1.275b. in US aid to Jor­dan each year for five years – a 27% in­crease from the last MoU, which lasted two years. It in­cludes mil­i­tary fi­nanc­ing as well as eco­nomic as­sis­tance funds.

“The United States has been a true friend and a solid part­ner to the king­dom,” said Safadi. “The MoU we have just signed is a tes­ti­mony to the en­dur­ing na­ture of our re­la­tions. We greatly ap­pre­ci­ate your sup­port. We thank you for the new aid pack­age that will strongly help us carry out our eco­nomic re­form pro­grams and meet our de­vel­op­men­tal and de­fense needs.”

The Jor­da­nian min­is­ter noted that he and Ab­dul­lah had dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion in Syria, as well as Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace, dur­ing Tillerson’s visit and in the lead-up to the cer­e­mony.

“We’ll con­tinue to work to­gether in pur­suit of peace and sta­bil­ity,” Safadi con­tin­ued. “We will re­main part­ners in the fight against ter­ror­ism un­til we de­stroy this evil. Jor­dan will not wa­ver in its com­mit­ment to work­ing with you, sir, and with the rest of our part­ners in the global coali­tion to de­feat Daesh [ISIS] and its ide­ol­ogy of hate.”

(Muham­mad Hamed/Reuters)

US SEC­RE­TARY of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Jor­da­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man Safadi af­ter their joint news con­fer­ence in Am­man yes­ter­day.

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