Jordan, Iraq to bolster border security

May 09 2005

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AMMAN, May 8: Iraq said on Sunday it had agreed with Jordan to bolster security cooperation to stem the flow of militants crossing the border. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, who is accompanying President Jalal Talabani on a visit to Amman, did not elaborate on the measures, but Jordanian officials said they included greater intelligence sharing and boosting border security.

“We agreed on mechanisms to deepen security cooperation especially as we face the problem of terrorism, killings and destruction,” Zebari told reporters. Hundreds of militants from various Arab countries have infiltrated Iraq over the last two years to take part in the insurgency aimed at forcing out US-led troops. Many have entered the country via Jordan.

Zebari said Talabani’s visit to Jordan had ended a rift in ties with the kingdom, strained by reports a Jordanian was behind the deadliest suicide bombing in postwar Iraq.

“We had a transient crisis in our ties. We agreed to stand united against anything that harms our relationship and we trust the pledges we got from the Jordanians,” Zebari said.

Bilateral ties suffered a blow over reports that a Sunni Jordanian carried out a suicide bombing that killed 125 people south of Baghdad on Feb 28 and that his family had celebrated him as a martyr.

Zebari said the predominantly Sunni insurgency was helped by foreign militants like Jordanian-born Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, whose group has claimed some of the deadliest bombings.

“Today we think that many of these terrorist networks benefit from the climate of destruction to move freely in the region. They are terrorist cells that come from outside and move in this region,” Zebari added.

—Reuters