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Jordan shifts to neutral on Syria

Jordan's decision to stop training Syrian rebels on its soil indicates a shift to neutrality as the kingdom prioritizes its security interests.
Jordan's King Abdullah (L) shakes hands with U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi at the Royal Palace in Amman October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan/Handout via Reuters (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTX14L3R

Jordan is realigning its stance on the three-year Syrian crisis in response to recent developments in Syria and Iraq. Last week, Information Minister Mohammad al-Momani announced that Jordan “was not interested in training Syrian opposition forces on its territory” and that its “public policy has always been not to interfere in Syrian affairs.” He told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Jordan had never trained opponents of the Syrian regime and that it continues to support a political solution that will bring stability to Syria and decrease the effects of refugees, who present a great pressure on the kingdom’s resources and infrastructure.

Momani was reacting to press reports that US officials had confirmed that “Jordan was reluctant to host an expanded rebel instruction program” proposed by President Barack Obama, who had requested from Congress $500 million to finance it. After months of delays, Obama had decided to provide training and weapons to the moderate opposition and in June, national security adviser Susan Rice acknowledged that the Pentagon was aiding Syrian rebels with “lethal and non-lethal support.”

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