AMMAN: Jordan’s parliament on Tuesday passed a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur who faces the challenge of dealing with fallout from the war in neighbouring Syria.
The vote was passed 83-65 in the lower house.
Nsur, reappointed by King Abdullah II in March after unprecedented consultations between the palace and parliament, told MPs in a policy statement last week that the Syrian conflict is threatening the kingdom, which is hosting around 500,000 Syrian refugees.
His 19-member government, the smallest in Jordan in more than four decades, has decided to send a letter to UN Security Council to outline “the serious implications of hosting the Syrian refugees.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expects the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan to soar to 1.2 million by the end of 2013 — equivalent to a fifth of the kingdom’s population.
In their debate on Nsur’s policies, some MPs joined the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party, in rejecting the presence of US troops in the kingdom because of deteriorating security in Syria.
“We should realise that America is unstable in its positions and that will confuse us and get us into the fire,” said Abdel Hadi Majai, head of the largest parliamentary bloc, who did not vote for Nsur.
The Islamists have urged the government to review its decision to accept US troops in Jordan.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has revealed that some 150 US military specialists have been deployed in Jordan since last year and that he had ordered a US Army headquarters team to bolster the mission, bringing the total American presence to more than 200 troops.
Nsur formed a transitional government in October to oversee a January general election that was boycotted by the Islamists and other groups.
Ina a separate development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not confirm comments by the Israeli military’s top intelligence analyst that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.
“I talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning. I think it is fair for me to say that he was not in a position to confirm that in the conversation that I had,” Kerry told a news conference at Nato headquarters in Brussels. “I don’t know yet what the facts are.”
Kerry had been asked about comments by Brigadier-General Itai Brun, an Israeli intelligence analyst.