Amman: Jordan says it is prepared to deal with any potential chemical weapon threat posed by the violence in neighbouring Syria, but adds it will not enter “any alliance” to protect itself.
Jordan, the US and others have expressed concern that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad could use chemical weapons in a last-ditch effort to save his regime.
Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah did not provide details on Jordan’s capabilities to thwart a chemical attack in remarks carried by the official Petra news agency on Sunday.
But other Jordanian officials have said US and British military experts have provided training in protecting civilians in case of a chemical attack on Jordanian territory.
Maaytah also said the 21-month Syrian crisis has put enormous pressure on Jordan’s infrastructure as it now hosts 275,000 refugees.
The statement comes just days after Arabic and Israeli media revealed that Jordan’s King Abdullah recently met secretly in Amman with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the threat of Syrian chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist extremists.
Israel’s Channel 2 had said the talks included a “very long discussion” about “cooperation with Jordan with regard to the fate of Syria’s chemical weapons”. It did not elaborate.