U.S. set to boost aid to Jordan despite Trump threats of cuts

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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry recieves U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Tahrir Palace central Cairo on Feb 12 2018 Press

The confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria is destabilizing the region, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman.

Jordan, a longtime partner of the United States and one of only two Arab nations to have full diplomatic relations with Israel, plays an instrumental role in the region and in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

The US Secretary of State is scheduled to travel to Turkey in the coming days, as part of a Middle East tour that began on Sunday night in Cairo and will also include stops in Jordan and Lebanon.

Tillerson flew to Jordan later on Tuesday, where leaders are also anxious about a U.S. decision to slash funding for the United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees.

As on past trips, Tillerson's message has been complicated by President Donald Trump, who tweeted on Monday that it was time to invest at home after "so stupidly spending $7-trillion in the Middle East".

"If communities in Iraq and Syria can not return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take root", Tillerson said Tuesday.

Trump reversed decades of USA policy in December when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.

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Tillerson said in Kuwait on Tuesday the proposal "represents basically returning to budgetary levels that were in place before the run-up during the last administration".

His trip comes amid regional discontent of the USA administration's decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Following his departure from Jordan, the USA secretary of state is scheduled to visit both Lebanon and Turkey.

The MOU takes effect immediately and ends in 2022.

"A lot of the reconstruction we're confident will be undertaken through both public and private sector approaches, and the lending institutions - OPIC, Ex-Im, World Bank, IMF - all of these are important elements of ensuring Iraq has a successful future", he added.

Palestinians have grown increasingly concerned that any plan Trump unveils will shortchange them, a fear exacerbated by his move on Jerusalem, which upended decades of USA policy that the status of the ancient city must be decided in negotiations.

The situation in the region escalated earlier this year, after US Col. Thomas Veale said that the US-led coalition had been training the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria's borders. We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars.

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