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Non-Lethal Border Security Support to Jordan

Volume 646: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2018

In November 2015 and April 2017, my predecessors the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) respectively, issued written ministerial statements setting out our plans to improve security along the border between Jordan and Syria by providing training and equipment to groups selected from the Moderate Armed Opposition (MAO) in southern Syria. That support enabled the interdiction of Jordanian citizens illegally entering Syria; stopped smugglers carrying money, weapons and narcotics from Syria to Jordan; and disrupted Daesh fighters operating across the border region, thereby denying them the freedom to (re)enter Jordan.

Since July 2018, the security situation in southern Syria has prevented us from providing additional support to the MAO. We intend, therefore, to re-direct existing resources to improve the security of Jordan’s borders from within Jordan itself. The grant in kind in this case is to the Jordanian armed forces.

The UK intends to grant to the Jordanian armed forces a number of vehicles and other equipment, acquired for the MAO’s border forces in southern Syria but now unable to be delivered to them. These include: unarmoured vehicles, day/night observation devices, radios, detectors to find and avoid improvised explosive devices, medical packs, uniforms, and load carrying/protective vests, to a total value of £5,061,028.46. These non-lethal capabilities are configured and optimised for border security, and it is for this purpose that the Jordanian armed forces have undertaken to employ them. The granting of this equipment and infrastructure will support the UK’s existing programme of support to the Jordanian armed forces. This option is most cost-effective to the taxpayer given that the vehicles are already stored in Jordan.

The assets have been scrutinised as required to ensure that their provision to the Jordanian armed forces is consistent with export controls and complies with our international obligations.