Jordan ready to host a U.S training programme for Iraqi troops
Jordan ready to host a U.S training programme for Iraqi troops

Jordanian Information Minister "Mohammed Momani" said, in statement carried in the government newspaper Al-Rai that Jordan is ready to host a U.S training programme for Iraqi troops to help counter a resurgence of al-Qaeda-linked militants in its neighbor.

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.

Momani said " Jordan welcomes positively the US request to train Iraqi forces on its territory", noting that "this project is part of permanent cooperation between Jordan, Iraq and the United States to fight against terrorism in the region".

On Friday a U.S defense 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 "Nouri al-Maliki" has asked the United States to help the army fight against Islamist extremists, blamed for a spiral of deadly attacks in recent months.

Maliki said in an interview published Thursday in The Washington Post that he specifically needed US "counter-terrorism" training. When asked if U.S trainers would come to Iraq, the prime minister said: "yes, bringing Americans to Iraq, or Iraqi soldiers could go to Jordan and train".

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 White House said that "the two leaders agreed on the importance of the Iraqi government's continued outreach to local and tribal leaders in Anbar province".

The U.S 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, adding that the training was "likely to go ahead because both Baghdad and Washington support the idea".

But U.S officials have said no US troops would be redeployed in Iraq.

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