Jordan Ready to Train Iraqi Troops on Its Territory
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Jordan is ready to host a US training programme for Iraqi troops to help counter a resurgence of Al-Qaeda-linked militants in its neighbor, a minister said in remarks published Sunday.
His comments come as Iraqi forces are locked in battles with anti-government militants who have gained ground in Anbar province west of Baghdad amid a spike in violence across the country.
"Jordan welcomes positively the US request to train Iraqi forces on its territory," Information Minister Mohammed Momani said, in statement carried in the government newspaper Al-Rai.
"This project is part of permanent cooperation between Jordan, Iraq and the United States to fight against terrorism in the region."
On Friday a US defence official told AFP that Washington was waiting for an agreement with Jordan or another country to go ahead with the training programme.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has asked the United States to help the army fight against extremists, blamed for a spiral of deadly attacks in recent months.
And on Saturday the White House said that Vice President Joe Biden had spoken to Maliki to discuss Washington's support for Iraq's fight against jihadists.
"The two leaders agreed on the importance of the Iraqi governments continued outreach to local and tribal leaders in Anbar province," the White House said.
Maliki said in an interview published Thursday in The Washington Post that he specifically needed US "counter-terrorism" training.
Asked if US trainers would come to Iraq, the prime minister said: "Yes, bringing Americans to Iraq, or Iraqi soldiers could go to Jordan and train."
The US defence official said Washington was preparing to ship "several thousand" M-16 and M-4 assault rifles as well as ammunition to Iraq, after having already provided missiles to Maliki's government.