German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the equipment would help bolster Jordan’s border surveillance. She said Germany and Europe “have an interest in Jordan’s stability.”
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen oversaw the delivery of €18 million ($22 million) worth of military equipment to the Jordanian armed forces on Sunday in a move designed to improve the country’s border control.
Von der Leyen said at the handover ceremony in the Jordanian capital Amman, that the equipment, which includes two training aircraft worth €5 million and 70 trucks and 56 vans worth €13 million, would help “improve mobility at the border.”
“Jordan is a voice of conciliation and reason in a conflict and terror-stricken region,” she said. “Germany and Europe … have an interest in Jordan’s stability.”
Bolstering the frontline
Jordan, which borders Syria and Iraq, has been at the forefront of the fight against the “Islamic State” (IS). Russia and an international coalition led by the United States have fought the jihadi group since it conquered swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territory in 2014.
Germany has aided the coalition with refueling and regular reconnaissance flights over Syria and Iraq from al-Azraq airbase in eastern Jordan.
German planes had previously flown from an airbase in Turkey, but a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Ankara led to their re-stationing in 2017.
Berlin has also helped Jordan via a 2016 aid program aimed at helping Middle Eastern and African partners resolve and prevent local conflicts, an effort the German government has previously said should combat the causes of migration to Europe.
Von der Leyen said during a visit to troops at the al-Azraq airbase on Saturday that Germany would begin changing its military operation against a “mostly defeated” IS.
The German military mission to Jordan would have a different “character” as the result of the shift, but some of the 280 soldiers stationed at the base would remain, she said.
IS should “not be underestimated” despite its military defeat, von der Leyen said, adding that Germany should help ensure the jihadist group does not “lodge itself into safe havens.”
But von der Leyen did not say how many troops would remain: “an exact figure has not been decided yet.”
amp/sms (AP, AFP, dpa)