AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed Saturday to do all he can to “quash” terrorists targeting neighboring Iraq as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani made his first foreign visit since becoming president last month.
Talabani was accompanied by Iraqâââs ambassador, Ata Abdul-Wahab, who resumed his post in Amman on Saturday after being recalled following the diplomatic spat over the Hillah bombing.
The two leaders met for 25 minutes at a hilltop palace, and Abdullah told Talabani that he will return Jordan’s ambassador to Baghdad; a move that would upgrade ties between both countries. Jordan recalled its envoy before Saddam Hussein was ousted in April 2003 and it has since been represented by a charge d’affaires.
ââÅWe stand ready to return our ambassador at the soonest possible moment, especially as the Iraqi side is prepared to provide security to the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad,ââ? Abdullah said, according to a Royal Palace statement.
Abdullah said he was determined to fight terrorists targeting the kingdom’s eastern neighbor.
“We will not tolerate any movement from any direction that would harm the Iraqi people and its political leadership,” he said. “Jordan stands by Iraq in all its power and determination to fight terrorism, quash terrorists and those who stand behind them and finance them.”
Talabani was later quoted as saying by the Jordanian royal palace that terrorism is an “ordeal” threatening the “whole region,” not only Iraq. He said assistance from neighboring countries is “essential” for the war on terror to succeed.
He also held talks with Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran on facilitating Iraqi trade through the kingdom and unfreezing Iraqi assets estimated at $500 million, the official Jordanian Petra news agency reported. It said talks would continue on Iraq’s frozen assets at a later stage.
Iraq was Jordan’s largest trade partner and only oil supplier before the U.S.-led war. Jordan also hosts training for Iraqi police and army cadets under a two-year U.S. sponsored program to bolster Iraq’s security capacity. Nearly half of the 32,000 Iraqi recruits have graduated.