USA / Jordanien

Gates Prais­es U.S., Jor­dan Strate­gic Part­ner­ship

AMMAN, Jor­dan, July 27, 2009 – The Unit­ed States and Jor­dan enjoy a strate­gic part­ner­ship aimed at pro­mot­ing peace in the greater Mid­dle East, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Click pho­to for screen-res­o­lu­tion image
Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates meets with King Abdul­lah of Jor­dan at the Kings Palace dur­ing a recent vis­it to the Mid­dle East, July 27, 2009. DoD pho­to by U.S. Air Force Mas­ter Sgt. Jer­ry Mor­ri­son
(Click pho­to for screen-res­o­lu­tion image);high-resolution image avail­able.
Gates spoke at the Amer­i­can embassy here fol­low­ing a meet­ing with King Abdul­lah and defense lead­ers.

Gates arrived here after a short flight from Israel, where he met with Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu and Defense Min­is­ter Ehud Barak. Jor­dan­ian reporters want­ed to know if Gates had received assur­ances from the Israelis that Israel would not launch air strikes at Iran’s nuclear sites.

They are per­fect­ly will­ing to allow the process of attempt­ed engage­ment to go for­ward,” Gates said. “They know … that this is not an open-end­ed process, but I had every sense that the Israeli gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to let our strat­e­gy play out in terms of try­ing to use a com­bi­na­tion of diplo­mat­ic pres­sures, eco­nom­ic sanc­tions and oth­er peace­ful means to try to get the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment to change its mind in terms of its nuclear ambi­tions.”

If that engage­ment process with Iran is not suc­cess­ful, the Unit­ed States is pre­pared to press for sig­nif­i­cant addi­tion­al sanc­tions that would be non­in­cre­men­tal, the sec­re­tary said.

Our hope remains that Iran will respond to [Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s] out­stretched hand in a pos­i­tive way,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

Jor­dan is pro­mot­ing secu­ri­ty in the region by help­ing to train both Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty and Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces. Gates not­ed the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the Jor­dan­ian mil­i­tary, and that it is invest­ing in pro­vid­ing world-class train­ing for its own forces and oth­ers in the region.

U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand Com­man­der Army Gen. David Petraeus was recent­ly in Jor­dan for the open­ing of the King Abdul­lah Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Train­ing Cen­ter.

That state-of-the-art facil­i­ty will be the foun­da­tion upon which oth­er nations in the region will build their counter-ter­ror­ism forces,” Gates said.

Jor­dan is pro­mot­ing Arab con­tri­bu­tions to a com­pre­hen­sive Mid­dle East peace includ­ing the two-state solu­tion between Israel and Pales­tine. “I also com­mend Jor­dan for lead­ing the way in assist­ing Iraq as it seeks renewed engage­ment with its neigh­bors,” Gates said. Abdul­lah was the first Arab head of state to vis­it the new Iraq. Jor­dan is active­ly pur­su­ing bet­ter eco­nom­ic and diplo­mat­ic ties between the coun­tries.

Oth­er coun­tries should fol­low Jordan’s exam­ple and help Iraq ful­ly rein­te­grate back into the region, Gates said. “This is the only way to forge a sta­ble and pros­per­ous Iraq — a goal that is in all the inter­ests of the Mid­dle East,” he said.

Extrem­ism is still a threat in the region as is Iran’s con­tin­ued pur­suit of nuclear weapons. The Unit­ed States will pro­vide Jor­dan with $360 mil­lion this year in eco­nom­ic-sup­port funds and rough­ly $300 mil­lion in secu­ri­ty-assis­tance funds. These amounts will remain con­stant for at least the next few years, the sec­re­tary said.

By Jim Gara­mone
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice