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U.S. Considering Arms for Jordan

The U.S. is considering the delivery of additional spare parts and ammunition to Jordan as a result of the current tension along the Syrian-Jordanian border but no decisions have been made yet, the State Department said today.

State Department spokesman John Trattner made clear that the deliveries would be in addition to “what already is in the pipeline,” observing that “Jordan is a friend whose security is important to us.” He noted also that “We have a long-time military supply relationship with Jordan.” He mentioned that “after consultation with Congress we have contracted with Jordan for the sale of 100 M-60 A-3 tanks, delivery to start in 1982.”

Trattner’s remarks were in effect a reiteration of what State Department sources said last Friday with respect to the build-up of Syrian troops on the Jordanian border. The State Department confirmed on Friday that Jordan, Syria and Israel were among the countries contacted on this situation.

Asked if the U.S. had contacted the Soviet Union to urge Syria to pull back its forces, Trattner said today that he would not comment on diplomatic contacts. The Soviet Union is the principal supplier of military equipment in Syria.

Trattner said: “Actions which raise tensions in that region of the world create additional tensions. We are watching the situation very closely and we call on all involved to exercise restraint and caution. We also said Friday that Jordan is a friend whose security is important to us. We have a long-time military supply relationship with Jordan. We have been consulting with them about the Syrian build-up on Jordan’s border. We don’t exclude further deliveries to Jordan of spare parts and ammunition but no decisions have been made on that.”

Trattner added, “Our central aim is to do everything possible to help prevent more instability in an already troubled area. In that regard, we hope the continuing efforts of Saudi Arabia to ease the tensions will be successful.”

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