New German defence minister seeks troop mandate extension in Jordan
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she would seek an extension to her country's regional troop mandate as she arrived in Jordan on Monday, on her first foreign trip since taking up the post.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said Germany has an interest in securing stability and ensuring that recent successes against militants like Islamic State make "a sustainable and lasting contribution to security in the region, and also for security from terrorism in Europe and in Germany," she said on arrival in Amman.
The German defence minister is in the Middle East to push for an extension of the country's troop mandate, which is set to expire on 31 October. There is not yet agreement in Germany's governing coalition on whether to grant an extension.
German soldiers are supporting Jordan in its fight against the Islamic State terrorist militia in Syria and Iraq and are also involved in training military and security forces in Iraq itself.
Kramp-Karrenbauer met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi, who urged continued international cooperation to fight Islamic State "gangs", according to a statement by the foreign ministry.
"The fight against terrorism is not over and we must continue cooperation to defeat it," al-Safadi said. "Germany plays a key role in this war which we are fighting to protect our security and our common interests and values," he added. They have also discussed the need for a political solution in Syria as well as developments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ministry said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is also head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), also met with Jordan's King Abdullah II, whose country is considered a relative anchor of stability in a tumultuous region.
"The meeting focused on ways to strengthen strategic partnerships between Jordan and Germany, especially in the defence field," the royal court said.
Germany is the second biggest donor to Jordan.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed before her departure that Germany's anti-Islamic State mission remains "absolutely necessary" and that Germany's contributions to the coalition had been "internationally recognised" as "a contribution to the fight of an international coalition against the terrorism of the so-called Islamic State."
About 290 German soldiers are based at Al-Azraq air base east of Amman. The base serves as Germany's steering point for its operations in the region, including its forces in Iraq. Germany also provides Tornado reconnaissance planes and a refuelling plane to the anti-Islamic State coalition. The regional mandate was first agreed in November 2015 after terrorist attacks in Paris. (dpa)